No. 2 move Lakers should make to keep up with Suns: Trade Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba
The Lakers have limited options when it comes to upgrading the roster. Blockbuster free agent signings are out the window, unless you include re-signing Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. Between LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and any sizable retentions, money is tight.
That said, the Lakers do have the option to pick up the final year on Malik Beasley’s contract, which is worth $16.5 million. On the surface, Beasley isn’t worth the price tag — he didn’t play in the postseason and, to quote Michael Malone, “specialists don’t play in the playoffs.” On the other hand, Beasley could come in handy on the trade market.
Teams are more desperate than ever to cut ties with long-term salary due to the new CBA. Beasley’s expiring contract is perfect for matching salaries in a trade, even if the other team doesn’t anticipate significant on-court value from Beasley. The Lakers can also trade Mo Bamba, who’s on the books for $10.3 million next year after a forgettable second half of the season with LA.
Los Angeles can only trade its 2029 first-round pick due to the Stepien rule, and the front office should tread carefully with draft capital that far into the future. But, it doesn’t take much digging to come across a name like Dejounte Murray, who is under contract for one more year at $18.2 million in what feels like a terminally doomed relationship with Atlanta.
Beasley plus a lightly protected 2029 first for a point guard who made the All-Star team in 2022? Heck, a point guard with size, playmaking chops, and the capacity for elite defense? That sounds like a bargain to me.