Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first round pick
This is interesting, I know. When the common fan thinks of trade rumors the mind instantly jumps to different talent throughout the league. However, the Lakers could and should be interested in obtaining a draft pick for next season as they do not currently have one. The Lakers are still a year or two away from being playoff ready, so stocking up on draft picks is especially important.
Right now, the Cleveland Cavaliers own the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first round pick. The rights to the pick were initially sent to the Boston Celtics in the horrible trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce; where the Nets essentially sold their future away for superstars on the decline.
The pick was then sent to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the swap between Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas. This seemed to be the Cavaliers preparation for LeBron James leaving, however, James did say that he still plans to retire with the organization he calls home.
So, what is the true value of the pick? As we have seen with James before, he does not want to play with young, unestablished talent. We saw it with first overall pick Andrew Wiggins, he was shipped over for Kevin Love. So, the pick’s biggest purpose may indeed be as trade bait.
If the Lakers cannot bring in a superstar, they could sign Brook Lopez to an extension with the agreement to send him to the title-contending Cleveland Cavaliers. Tristan Thompson is great and all, but the Cavaliers would be significantly better with the range Lopez possesses.
Then, the Lakers get practically a guaranteed top-five pick for someone they likely weren’t planning on keeping anyway. For every side, this deal is a win.