Report: Lakers would have interest in Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers insider Jovan Buha said that the team would have interest in Brooklyn Nets wings Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale as potential trade targets.

O’Neale is in the final season of his contract with the Nets, while Finney-Smith still is under contract through the 2024-25 season and has a player option for the 2025-26 campaign.

“Maybe you can’t get [Alex] Caruso and you go for Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith,” Buha said. “And Royce O’Neale obviously isn’t the caliber of player that Alex Caruso is, but to me, it would still be an overall upgrade to the rotation if you could bring both of those guys in. Those are two guys the Lakers have had interest in dating back to last offseason and even last trade deadline, so I know that those are two guys they would have interest in bringing in.”

Both O’Neale and Finney-Smith could give the Lakers more depth – and shooting – on the wing. The team currently has players like Cam Reddish, Taurean Prince, Jarred Vanderbilt and Rui Hachimura as pieces to fill those roles.

This season, O’Neale is averaging 7.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game this season while shooting 38.9 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from 3-point range. O’Neale would be an upgrade as a shooter for the Lakers, as only LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Prince have higher 3-point percentages than O’Neale this season.

As for Finney-Smith, he has been even better than O’Neale, and he may cost more in the trade market since he has more time remaining on his deal.

This season, Finney-Smith is averaging 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 47.0 percent from the field and 44.8 percent from beyond the arc. He has a better 3-point percentage than every player on the Lakers’ roster this season.

Both O’Neale and Finney-Smith are solid wing defenders as well, and they could become available if Brooklyn looks to revamp its roster at the deadline. The Nets are fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and they are currently the No. 9 seed.

The Lakers are hoping to make a deep playoff run this season after they made the Western Conference Finals last season. The team may need to make a deal or two to perfect the roster ahead of the playoff push this season.

Los Angeles is currently the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference with a 16-15 record. The team would love to avoid the league’s play-in tournament and at least finish in the top six in the West during the regular season.

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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.