NBA Rumors: Lakers are monitoring the Wizards' situation for potential trades

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We are still two months away from the NBA trade deadline, but it's never too early to get the rumor mill started. December 15 is a critical date that semi-officially marks the beginning of the trade season, as players who signed contracts in the 2023 offseason are eligible to be traded. As championship hopefuls will be looking to load up on talent before their playoff runs, rebuilding teams like the Washington Wizards will try to unload their veterans with trade value for future assets. One of the teams that are reportedly interested in the Wizards players are the Los Angeles Lakers.

According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (subscription required), the Lakers are "still evaluating their needs and will continue to monitor the league, including potential fire sales in Toronto, Washington, Utah, Brooklyn, and/or Charlotte that could make useful rotation players available."

There are plenty of veteran role players on the Wizards roster who could be of potential interest to the Lakers. Washington is reportedly already listening to offers on Danilo Gallinari, Landry Shamet, Delon Wright, and Mike Muscala.

Gallinari and Muscala are probably not playoff-level players at this stage of their careers. Shamet provides shooting and floor-spacing but is a defensive liability. It's hard to see the Lakers being interested in these names.

Delon Wright, however, fills a need for the Lakers. He is excellent at screen navigation, can defend multiple positions, and provides much-needed toughness and intensity. He could be an attractive trade target with his reasonable, expiring contract.

Yet, the Los Angeles Lakers are probably in the hunt for a bigger fish. They have midsize contracts like D'Angelo Russell, Gabe Vincent, and Rui Hachimura, and first-round picks that they can trade for a starter-caliber player. The Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma naturally comes to mind.

A former Laker, Kuzma was a valuable contributor to the title team in 2020. Since then, he has blossomed into a two-way wing, who is currently in the midst of his career season. His game is more mature, efficient, and all-around now than it was when he was a Laker. He is still 28 years old and on a team-friendly four-year, $90 million contract.

If the Lakers are indeed "monitoring the situation" in Washington, they are likely hoping for Kuzma being made available. Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert could potentially be of interest to the Lakers as well, but none of the Wizards except for Kuzma really move the needle for the Lakers' championship odds.

As well as Kuzma is playing this season, a trade discussion with the Lakers makes a lot of sense for Washington. Los Angeles has intriguing young prospects like Jalen Hood-Schifino, Max Christie, and Maxwell Lewis that they can throw into a trade on top of matching salary and draft compensation. A potential deal like this could accelerate the rebuild in Washington and benefit both sides.

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