Report: Lakers could trade No. 17 pick with Mo Bamba and/or Malik Beasley for starting-caliber player

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers could use the No. 17 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft along with Mo Bamba and/or Malik Beasley to trade for a starting-level player, according to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha.

“There’s also the growing possibility that they can make a move at the 2023 draft, flipping their pick (No. 17), along with Bamba and/or Beasley for a starting-level upgrade,” Buha wrote.

The Lakers have several free agents this offseason, including Dennis Schroder (unrestricted), D’Angelo Russell (unrestricted), Lonnie Walker IV (unrestricted), Austin Reaves (restricted) and Rui Hachimura (restricted).

If the Lakers are worried about losing one of these players, or the team doesn’t plan on bringing one back, it could use the salary from Beasley or Bamba to facilitate a deal.

Both Beasley and Bamba were brought in at the trade deadline during the 2022-23 season.

Beasley has a team option for the 2023-24 season that is worth more than $16 million. Bamba’s salary for the 2023-24 campaign is non-guaranteed at $10.3 million.

Both of those contracts are tradable, which gives the Lakers some flexibility to improve the roster. While the team would have to move a rookie (the No. 17 pick) to make it happen, it does make more sense to get a win-now piece with LeBron James aging.

The Lakers need to maximize James’ time with the team, and he is only under contract with the Lakers through the 2023-24 season. He does have a player option for the 2024-25 campaign, but if he opts out, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

Los Angeles made the Western Conference Finals in the 2022-23 season, but Beasley fell out of the rotation in the playoff run and Bamba spent most of it injured.

The Lakers could always give the players another shot at earning minutes in Darvin Ham’s rotation in the 2023-24 season, but they may be better off getting a player that they are positive can play a big role for them going forward.

It’s unclear which player or players would be available for such a package, but the Lakers can get creative to match salary if they decide to package all of Beasley, Bamba and the No. 17 pick in a deal.

Los Angeles seems to be exploring every avenue possible to improve this offseason after coming close to the NBA Finals in the 2022-23 campaign.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.