Lakers Become True NBA Finals Contenders in Blockbuster Projected Trade

The Los Angeles Lakers bring in a third star next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis in this latest mock trade proposal.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers remain the only team in the NBA to not add a player this offseason. They struck out with all of their free-agent targets and haven't made a trade to improve the roster yet. If they are hoping to be competitive in the Western Conference, the Lakers need to add a third All-Star caliber player next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The latest mock trade proposed by Bleacher Report does exactly that.

Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley came up with a trade proposal for every team in the NBA. The one he had between Los Angeles and Utah will have Lakers fans salivate.

Lakers receive: Lauri Markkanen
Jazz receive: Austin Reaves, Jalen Hood-Schifino, Maxwell Lewis, 2029 & 2031 first-round picks, 2030 first-round pick swap

In this deal, the Lakers put all their trade chips in for Utah star Lauri Markkanen. The 27-year-old versatile forward brings the exact type of skillset the Lakers need. Markkanen is a knockdown shooter who can fit seamlessly around LeBron and Davis. At the same time, he can create his own offense and score in a variety of ways. He is an above-average defender on the other end of the floor. As a seven-footer, he also makes the Lakers a formidable defensive team with his length.

Markkanen is entering the final season of his contract. Because Utah is still a rebuilding team, they are exploring options to see what they can get in exchange for their All-Star rather than re-negotiating and extending his contract.

The only issue with this scenario is the unlikelihood of the Lakers having the best package for Markkanen. Austin Reaves, two first-rounders, and a pick swap is a decent offer, but it's presumably not enough of a return for Jazz GM Danny Ainge unless he is enamored with Reaves. The Jazz can probably get a better offer with significantly more draft capital from a team like the Thunder, Spurs, Grizzlies, or the Rockets.

That doesn't mean, however, that GM Rob Pelinka shouldn't try.

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