Western Conference executive urges Lakers to pursue Max Strus and Gary Trent Jr.

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have struggled to start the 2022-23 season, failing to win any of their first four games.

The team lacks consistent outside shooting, and it’s actually set an NBA record for the worst 3-point shooting percentage in a four-game span in league history by a team with a minimum of 125 3-point attempts.

With the Lakers handcuffed at the moment due to Russell Westbrook’s contract, the team’s only path to improvement in the 2022-23 season is via trade. That would likely involve sacrificing future draft picks, and with the Lakers already at 0-4, it may not be wise to go all in on a roster that is very flawed.

However, the team could look to the future to fix some of the issues, especially in the shooting department.

One Western Conference executive told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney that the Lakers should target players like Miami Heat wing Max Strus, Toronto Raptors wing Gary Trent Jr. and others in free agency next offseason.

“They should be smart and go for multiple players,” the executive said. “Role players, guys like Strus, or bringing back Josh Hart and maybe going for Gary Trent if he opts out in Toronto. Strus will be a bargain next year, even though he’s been good in Miami, he will be undervalued.”

Strus is a really interesting case, as the 26-year-old has carved out a nice role in Miami. In four NBA seasons, Strus is shooting 39.0 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 9.0 points per game.

He arguably would be Los Angeles’ best threat from deep if it were able to sign him in the offseason.

Hart and Trent are also both interesting players, although they may not be as undervalued as Strus on the market.

This season, Trent is off to a great start, averaging 20.2 points per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from 3-point range. He can score from all three levels and would be a nice complement to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

As for Hart, a former Laker, he brings similar attributes to the table. A career 34.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc, Hart is also an impressive rebounder, averaging 9.4 boards per game this season.

Adding multiple role players that can contribute on both ends of the floor would make a lot of sense for a Lakers team that lacks depth this season. Los Angeles has struggled to get any consistent scoring production out of anyone besides James, Davis and Lonnie Walker IV.

If the Lakers don’t make a major trade during the 2022-23 campaign, they should be very active in free agency next offseason to improve their roster.

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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.