Los Angeles Lakers: Ranking the 5 best buyout candidates

Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images
Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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The Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of options on the buyout market, but which one is the best fit?

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a place most defending NBA champions rarely find themselves: With not one, but two open roster spots, facing a buyout market that’s teeming with useful candidates.

The Lakers are also in a somewhat precarious position in the standings. Despite getting a positive update on Anthony Davis’ progress with his calf strain, his return still feels like it’ll be weeks away still. And with LeBron James still sidelined by a high ankle sprain for the next 3-5 weeks, the Lakers need to prepare to stay afloat for the next month or so without their two best players.

Standing pat at the NBA trade deadline deprived Los Angeles an opportunity to provide reinforcements for Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell, Marc Gasol and Kyle Kuzma, so it’s vital for the front office to nail its signings on the buyout market now. Adding another big man and a guard/wing who can defend the perimeter and knock down 3s seems like the way to go.

So far, the Lakers have lost four of their last five games without their superstar duo, and they’ve gone 8-11 since AD first went out six weeks ago. They’ve slid from first in the Western Conference all the way to fourth, and the Denver Nuggets (fifth) and Portland Trail Blazers (sixth) are only 1.5 games back now. In order for LA to prevent a slide further down the standings, these five buyout targets need to be at the top of the list.