REPORT: Curious about the future of the Lakers? Here are the 5 players most likely to be traded at the deadline

   

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers have been involved in plenty of trade rumors given their mediocre record, players on team-friendly contracts and their desire to push for title No. 18.

Being at .500 and relatively healthy, minus Gabe Vincent and now Taurean Prince, it looks like they’ll need to make a move to have a realistic title shot in the West.

With the Lakers reportedly talking with the Atlanta Hawks for Dejounte Murray and being linked with players such as Tyus Jones and Bruce Brown Jr. to pull off any of these moves, they will need to trade away key rotation players.

The Lakers have made it clear that Austin Reaves is close to untouchable and LeBron James and Anthony Davis will obviously be on this roster, leaving a dozen or so players the Lakers could still move.

But which ones are most likely to be traded?

Here is a ranking of the players most likely to be traded before the deadline.

1. D’Angelo Russell
Russell’s name has been involved in virtually every Lakers trade rumor this season, making him the most likely to be moved. The reasons are clear: he only has one year left on his contract with a player option for next season and his $17 million can help match the proposed deal for Dejounte Murray.

It’s hard to envision a scenario where he’s still on the team and the Lakers are on the hook for his contract next season. However, if he is, it’ll be because teams wanted too much and the value they were getting back for Russell doesn’t match his starting point guard production or make the team better.

2. Rui Hachimura
Rui has struggled with injuries this season and has seen his role change multiple times. Davis might want Hachimura to “get back” to being himself, but what if the Lakers already experienced his best and he’s regressed to his norm?

Struggling to find a role and making $15 million, Hachimura is a player still valued around the league and can be part of a packaged deal for an upgrade at the guard position.

3. Jalen Hood Schifino
Baby Lakers are adored by fans, but Jalen Hood-Schifino hasn’t gotten as much love or NBA action on this team. That was always going to be the case with a team aiming to compete and not having the patience for the mistakes a rookie point guard in the NBA tends to make.

He’s on a rookie contract, so money-wise, you won’t get a big haul for Hood-Schifino, but he’s an interesting prospect and could be enough of a cherry on top of a trade that gets a team like the Nets to make a deal packaging Dorian Finney-Smith to the Lakers, for example.

4. Gabe Vincent
Add Gabe Vincent to the players from the Miami Heat that the Lakers shouldn’t have acquired. Like Nunn, Vincent had what was considered a minor injury that eventually led to him now recovering from surgery on his left knee.

Even when he did play, he was underwhelming, averaging 5.4 points and shooting an abysmal 11% from three. Not ideal for a player you brought with your mid-level exception.

Injured and looking bad when healthy, Vincent isn’t the most intriguing player for a team to acquire, but he is expected to return this season. The Lakers could be willing to move him if a team wants to acquire him in hopes that he will be ready to play next season at full health.

5. Jaxson Hayes
Speaking of players the Lakers should be willing to move, come on down, Jaxson Hayes!

He was expected to play the JaVale McGee role for the Lakers this season. He just needed to be a burst of energy and finish at the rim, but he doesn’t have McGee’s defensive ability and he is poor at setting screens.

He’s recently lost his minutes to Christian Wood, who has played much better than Hayes during his shifts. So, while many teams won’t want Hayes, he might be involved in a deal just so the Lakers can get him off the roster and bring in someone who can contribute like Damian Jones was last season in the Russell Westbrook trade.

Hayes also has a player option for next season, so moving him might require the Lakers to throw in some draft assets, likely a second-round pick, to motivate a team to get a deal done.

That’s a hefty price which is why Hayes isn’t as likely to be traded as the aforementioned Lakers.

While these are the five Lakers most likely to be traded, plenty can happen between now and the deadline and there are plenty of different trade scenarios involving other Lakers that could happen.

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