Lakers Rumors: LA Linked To Trade For Defensive Player Of The Year Candidate

What would it cost to acquire his services?

As the trade deadline nears (it’s Thursday at noon PT), your Los Angeles Lakers remain near the center of the rumor mill, with holes up and down their roster beyond All-Star NBA power forward LeBron James (yes, I’m including Anthony Davis and his injury-prone lower body).

One big trade resource for virtually every NBA team in the market is the Toronto Raptors, who stumbled out of the gate and remain too limited on offense to make much of a playoff impact this season. Team president Masai Ujiri, one of the savviest talent evaluators in the league, will quite possibly be looking to move on from some of his older players in the service of future draft equity.

Though All-NBA Toronto Raptors big man Pascal Siakam is apparently not readily available via trade for the time being, several other veteran Toronto role players could be had, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Chief among them is shooting guard O.G. Anunoby, who has emerged as a fringe Defensive Player of the Year candidate with his terrific work along the perimeter for Toronto. He can also be counted on to knock down a shot or two. Through 45 games this season, he’s averaging 16.9 points on .457/.366/.821 shooting splits, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 steals (!), two assists and 0.8 blocks.

Fischer notes that LA will have some company in trying to pry Anunoby away from the Great White North. Sources inform him that the New Orleans Pelicans, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers, Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, and the New York Knicks all have interest in this 3-and-D stud who, at 25, is entering the prime of his career. Given the level of competition, it seems quite possible that LA will need to pony up at least one of its two movable first round draft picks (in 2027 and 2029), unprotected, in a deal. Would a first rounder, a future first round pick swap, and a second be enough for Ujiri’s front office? Time will tell, but Anunoby would go a long way towards addressing two massive needs for Los Angeles: defense on the wing and three-point shooting (his 36.6% mark from deep arrives on a volume 5.2 attempts).

Anunoby is currently earning $17.4 million, and could be had for the expiring contracts of Patrick Beverley and, say, Damian Jones and Juan Toscano-Anderson, provided LA sends him some level of draft equity along the lines I’m suggesting (although even that may not be enough, depending on rival offers).

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