The Lakers won the second pick in the NBA draft after a successful lottery showing this week, and will in all liklihood draft 6-foot-6 point guard stud Lonzo Ball from up the road at UCLA after Markelle Fultz comes off the board No. 1.
But the team already has a big, second-overall picked point guard on the roster in D’Angelo Russell (6-foot-5).
Could L.A. thrive with a Russell/Ball backcourt? Or is Russell expendable?
According to Sports Illustrated, the Lakers have been fielding trade offers from several teams for the guard, who has averaged 14.3 points per game over 28 minutes per game through two seasons in Southern California. There would not only be more playing time available for the guard elsewhere, but he might fit in better in a new environment.
Enter the Sixers, who will draft just behind L.A. on June 22 with the No. 3 pick. Philly has Ben Simmons set to run the point as a point-forward hybrid. But the team was drooling over Fultz and won’t be able to get a true scoring point guard unless they draft De’Aaron Fox — which might be a stretch at the third spot with forward prospects Josh Jackson and Jason Tatum expect to be picked around third.
Philly happens to hold the Lakers pick in 2018, unprotected after the pick failed to transfer to the Sixers with protections in 2017. Perhaps the Sixers could get their point guard by sending L.A. it’s 2018 pick back, a couple of their four second rounders in 2017, or even Jahlil Okafor, who continues to be the subject of trade rumors. Which would allow Philly to take the best available player and not worry about getting a guard in a guard-loaded draft.
The move makes perfect sense and would allow Russell, still just 21, to grow with fellow youngsters Joel Embiid, Simmons and Dario Saric.