However, Buha did note that asking prices make it unlikely that either player will end up with the Lakers this offseason.
“Young and Lillard are names that have been discussed internally, but appear nothing more than a pipe dream given the current asking prices for stars on the trade market,” Buha wrote.
The Lakers appear to be looking to upgrade at the guard position with D’Angelo Russell and Dennis Schroder both set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.
Russell was acquired in a trade last season, but it appears the Lakers may be reluctant to commit major money to him this offseason. The team reportedly won’t pursue a max extension with Russell, which could open the door for him leaving Los Angeles in free agency.
Buha noted that the Lakers may not be able to get much for Russell if they attempt a sign-and-trade, making some of the star alternatives nothing more than unrealistic targets.
“There may not be many realistic and attractive alternatives to re-signing Russell,” Buha wrote. “It’s unclear what, if anything, he would net them on the sign-and-trade front. The theoretical alternatives range from unrealistic ([Kyrie] Irving, [Fred] VanVleet) to even more unrealistic (Young, Lillard).
Lillard and Young are two of the game’s premier guards, and it’s hard to see either of their teams parting ways with them without receiving a king’s ransom in return.
The Blazers – if they decide to commit to building around Lillard – have the assets to improve their roster around him in the offseason, starting with the No. 3 overall pick.
Even if Portland does decide to move on from the seven-time All-Star, it likely would want future draft capital and young players in return. The Lakers are a little thin in the picks department since they already have first-round picks that are due to New Orleans and potentially Utah in the next few seasons.
As for Young, the Hawks would likely be looking to reset if they moved on from the two-time All-Star. The team made the playoffs in the first season with Young and Dejounte Murray sharing the backcourt in the 2022-23 season.
If Atlanta were willing to move Young, it would likely enter a rebuilding phase unless a high-quality player was acquired to pair with Murray.
Unless the Lakers wanted to move one of their stars (Anthony Davis or LeBron James), which they probably wouldn’t, a deal for Young would likely be centered around major draft capital as well.
There’s still plenty of time for the Lakers to test the waters of free agency and trade market this offseason, but it seems to be unlikely that the team will trade for a star guard to pair with James and Davis in the 2023-24 season.