A Lakers-Wizards trade that could work for both sides

The Lakers are reeling and in need of a jolt. The Wizards are horrendous and looking to the future. This is a trade that would be a win-win for both franchises. 

Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards
Orlando Magic v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers 106-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers snapped their losing streak at four games, but they are still just 3-9 over their past 12 games and 18-19 on the season. With Gabe Vincent out for the next two months, the Lakers need some reinforcements to turn their season around. 

The Wizards, on the other hand, are 6-29 and are in the first season of what looks to be a long rebuild. Teams desperate to contend and teams building for the future are natural trade partners, which makes the Lakers and Wizards a perfect fit. Luckily for the Lakers, the Wizards have two players who could help the Lakers regain their contender status. 

The Wizards have what the Lakers need

The Lakers, even amid a defensive slump, are still ranked 10th in defense. With Anthony Davis playing at an elite level, the Lakers have the type of defensive anchor that can solve almost any woe. However, even with LeBron James, the Lakers offense has been a mess. Their offensive rating of 112.3 is 24th in the league, and their biggest area of weakness is their 3-point shooting. 

The Lakers’ 35.2 percent 3-point shooting currently ranks 25th in the league, and that’s with James shooting 39.7 percent from three. Oddly, the top of the Lakers’ roster has shot perfectly fine from three, with Taurean Prince, James, and D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ top three in 3-point attempts, all shooting 38.5 percent or better. It’s the bottom of their roster that has let them down, with five of their next six most frequent 3-point shooters shooting under 34.5 percent. 

Lakers-Wizards Trade

Why Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert are excellent fits

The Wizards enter NBA trade season with the best pure point guard on the market. Tyus Jones isn’t an All-Star, but he is the perfect point guard for the Lakers. He’s an assist-to-turnover ratio god, leading the league at 6.6:1 this season, and he is shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range this season. With James and Davis as go-to scorers, the Lakers only need a point guard who can organize an offense, take care of the ball, and knock down open threes, and Jones checks all three boxes. He’s on an expiring $14 million contract, but he’d be an excellent candidate to land an extension with the Lakers. 

Corey Kispert’s 3-point shooting has taken a bit of a hit this season, but if 36.3 percent is a down year, you’re a certified laser. Kispert also has another year on his rookie deal, which makes him an incredibly economical choice for the Lakers. His ability to hit shots will pair perfectly next to the Lakers stars, and he can easily rotate between the starting lineup or bench. 

Prying Jones, and especially Kispert, who Washington may view as a long-term piece, won’t come cheap. The Lakers will have to part with either their 2029 or 2030 first-round pick and send D’Angelo Russell back to match salaries. Russell can’t be traded until Jan. 15 due to the extension he signed this offseason but has been productive this season. However, his style of play isn’t a great fit next to the Lakers’ two stars, and his on-ball abilities are redundant with Austin Reaves. He also has a player option for next season that the Lakers may view as a negative in terms of salary cap management. 

The Lakers need an offensive jolt, and Tyus Jones and Corey Kispert both fill vital holes in the Lakers’ offense. Parting with a far-out first-round pick with LeBron in year 20 is costly, but so is letting this season go to waste. For the Wizards, it’d be malpractice not to move Jones before the deadline, but the only way they’ll get a premium pick in return is if they include a player like Kispirt. While the organization probably would love to keep Kispert long-term, he’s a player who helps a good team more than a poor one. 

The Lakers and Wizards are at different stages in their competitive timeline, and the Wizards trading current value for future assets is just good business. The Lakers need to make a serious push this season because expecting LeBron to be an All-NBA quality player for much longer is a dangerous line of thinking. 

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