The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be one of the busiest teams on the trade market in the 2022 NBA offseason. Despite suffering a huge disappointment in the 2021-22 NBA season, the Lakers still don't have any intention of tearing their roster down and undergoing a full-scale rebuild. Instead of taking a different route, the Lakers are planning to add quality players who would help LeBron James and Anthony Davis bring the team back to the NBA Finals and capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy next year.
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Proposed Three-Way Deal Featuring Lakers, Nets & Knicks
In a recent article, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report discussed several interesting trade ideas that teams could explore in the 2022 NBA offseason. These include a three-team trade that would enable the Lakers to replace Russell Westbrook with Brooklyn Nets point guard Ben Simmons in the 2022-23 NBA season. In the proposed three-way trade scenario, the Lakers would get Simmons and Evan Fournier, the Nets would receive Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel, and a lottery-protected 2027 first-round pick, and the New York Knicks would obtain Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker, and a 2023 second-round pick.
Lakers Create New 'Big 3'
Trading all those assets for Simmons isn't a no-brainer for the Lakers. Aside from the major flaws in his game, Simmons hasn't played a game since the 2021 NBA Playoffs. However, when he's 100 percent healthy, he would undeniably be an intriguing addition to the Lakers. His potential arrival in Los Angeles could boost their performance on both ends of the floor and allow them to create a new "Big 3" with James and Davis next season.
Simmons would give the Lakers a very reliable third-scoring option behind their veteran superstar duo, as well as a great rebounder, an incredible playmaker, and an elite defender. He would also bridge the gap to the next era of Lakers basketball when James permanently ends his NBA career.
Adding A Veteran Sharpshooter
Simmons isn't the only player that the Lakers would get from the proposed three-team trade, but also Fournier. Fournier may not be an All-Star, but he would also be a great acquisition for the Purple and Gold. He would give the Lakers a starting-caliber shooting guard who can efficiently knock down shots from beyond the arc.
This season, Fournier averaged 14.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.0 steal while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from the three-point range. Acquiring Turner would give the Lakers insurance in case they fail to re-sign Malik Monk in the 2022 NBA free agency.
Why Nets & Knicks Would Make The Trade
The proposed three-way deal won't only benefit the Lakers but also the Nets and the Knicks. For the Nets, the suggested trade would enable them to trade Simmons for two frontcourt reinforcements this summer. Randle could serve as the team's new starting power forward next season, while Noel would provide them with depth at the center position.
For the Knicks, the hypothetical blockbuster would allow them to swap Randle and the four years and $117 million left in his contract for Westbrook's expiring deal. This would enable them to clear enough salary-cap space to chase big names in the 2023 NBA free agency. Aside from obtaining financial flexibility, the Knicks would also receive two reliable playmakers and ball handlers in Nunn and Horton-Tucker and a future draft pick.