Two Most Likely Lakers To Be Traded Revealed

If the Los Angeles Lakers are going to make any trades this offseason, these two players have been revealed to be the most likely candidates to be moved.
Which players is GM Rob Pelinka most likely to trade this offseason?
Which players is GM Rob Pelinka most likely to trade this offseason? / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers' financial situation has impacted their ability to make moves this offseason. LeBron James' $101 million contract extension took up most of the Lakers' remaining cap space, meaning they're limited to targeting cheap veteran free agents barring a move to free up more cash.

That said, general manager Rob Pelinka's hands aren't tied yet. The Lakers are just under the NBA's second apron and can gain access to the $5.2 million taxpayer mid-level exception if they unload two of their veteran minimum contracts this summer. Considering how various difference-makers could be added by using the MLE, it's in Pelinka's best interest to start thinking about potential moves.

For those wondering which contracts the Lakers could move to free up the MLE, The Athletic's Jovan Buha has the answer.

Lakers Rumors: LA Likely to Trade Reddish, Wood Over Hayes

As of July 10, the Lakers have three players signed to veteran minimum contracts — Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes, and Christian Wood. When it comes to the trio, who all opted into their 2024-25 player options, Buha reports that Reddish and Wood are "the two most likely guys to be salary dumped."

Although Hayes hasn't been deemed untouchable, Buha added that the Lakers would prefer to move one (or both) of Reddish and Wood instead of the ex-Texas Longhorn.

"Maybe a team pushes to get Jaxson Hayes and when it comes down to it, the Lakers decide that there isn’t much of a difference between Hayes and Wood. But my understanding, the Lakers would prioritize keeping Hayes in comparison with Wood and Reddish."

Jovan Buha

It isn't hard to see why the Lakers would prioritize keeping Hayes over the other two. For starters, Reddish and Wood missed a ton of time last season, sitting out of a combined 76 games. Conversely, Hayes played 70 on his own.

Secondly, the injury-plagued duo failed to make the most of their limited opportunities. While Reddish occasionally had his moments, he still averaged a career-low 5.4 points on .389/.336/.759 shooting splits while adding 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.0 steals across 48 games (26 starts).

As for Wood, he didn't provide the presence off the bench that GM Pelinka expected. Averaging 17.4 minutes across 50 outings, the former UNLV product only averaged 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 46.6% from the floor and 30.7% from deep. For comparison, he tallied a 51.5 FG% and 37.6 3P% in 67 games with the Dallas Mavericks in 2022-23.

Meanwhile, Hayes was one of the Lakers' better bench options last season. He matched his career-high with 70 games played, averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds with a 72.0 FG%. His 8.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals per 100 possessions were two of the best marks of his five-year career, indicating that he might thrive with even more playing time this fall.

While Wood and Reddish may not be the most attractive trade pieces on their own, the Lakers possess a handful of first-round draft picks that they can use to sweeten the deal.

Nevertheless, replacing the duo with a proven competitor would go a long way in improving Los Angeles' 2024-25 outlook. For now, DraftKings Sportsbook is giving the Lakers the ninth-best odds (+3000) to win next season's NBA Championship.

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