Fred VanVleet, D'Angelo Russell

Looks like Los Angeles Lakers have a lot to deal with this offseason as they have to build a strong team for the next season. They hoped to win this time, but their season was cut short after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Denver Nuggets, who eventually went on to win the championship. Now that the 22-23 season is over, every team is gearing up for the off-season trades. And the Lakers have a lot to look forward to if the core group stays along for the following seasons.

However, that is where lies the problem. Many players in the Lakers team will need to sign a new contract with the team. For instance, D’Angelo Russell will be an unrestricted free agent, while Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura will be restricted free agents. But the current scenario is that the Lakers have to trade D’Lo for a more experienced and dependable point and shooting guard like Fred VanVleet.


Fred VanVleet A Possible Replacement For D’Lo Russell

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Apparently, D’Lo disappointed the Lakers Faithful after a poor show against the top-seed Nuggets in the western conference finals. Moreover, the Lakers will find it hard to keep Austin Reaves after the Oklahoma Sooners kid raised his stock with consistent stellar performances in the season. But who can replace D’Angelo and Reaves in the Lakers roster to provide support to the duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis? According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors can be a suitable option for replacing the young duo in the Lakers roster. Moreover, VanVleet has also rejected his player option worth 22.8 million dollars and will opt for free agency.

However, ESPN’s Woj mentioned, “Even though Fred VanVleet has not said no to the idea of negotiating a deal with the Raptors, he becomes one of the valuable star point guards in the market right now.” Hence, teams like the Lakers will jump on the chance to buy Toronto’s point and shooting guard. If the Raptors decide to rebuild and are open to a sign-and-trade deal, then the Lakers can send D’Lo along with perhaps a 2029 first or second-rounder pick. Moreover, they can throw Malik Beasley’s club option worth $16.5 million and Mo Bamba’s $10.3 million in the deal to sign VanVleet. Then he can join the Lakers with a four-year contract worth $114.2 million. Or perhaps a three-year deal worth 88.7 million dollars, along with an option. 

Lakers Do Not Have Much Cap Space Due To LeBron And AD

Anthony Davis LeBron James Lakers
Anthony Davis LeBron James Lakers Source: Sporting News

On the other hand, the Los Angeles Lakers do not have ample cap space. Mainly due to its two top stars – LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Hence, they will have to trade a few players to get a better deal than what they got in February. Moreover, the deals before the February trade deadline actually saved the LA side. As they were on the verge of an elimination before making the postseason. The players who came in that phase are like Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley, and so on. All of them played crucial roles in taking the team to the conference finals. Moreover, the LA side will try their best to keep as many of them as possible.