The Lakers have more draft picks than you’ve been led to believe

Whether you like or detest the Lakers, I believe everybody can agree that their roster as presently constructed will not be adequate to win an NBA championship (which is the said objective of each high decision-maker within the group). I’m not breaking information or providing up a sizzling take after I say this — the Lakers are presently 3-10 and have the second-worst file within the western convention. And whereas the pending returns of Dennis Schröder and Thomas Bryant will assist, they’re two role-players coming again to a staff in want of more than two position gamers, in the event that they’re to morph into title contenders.

This actuality, then, has led many to the conclusion that if the Lakers are going to improve their roster so as to get nearer to their targets, a commerce is required. This perception is not in any means new, both. People have been saying this since earlier than this present roster was even constructed final summer season and I’ve argued for such many occasions prior to now; if you need ideas on that, I will not bore you with rehashing all of them right here, you will discover them within the archives of this web site or of the podcast I co-host.

A standard chorus of this dialogue relating to the Lakers making a commerce, although, rapidly devolves into whether or not or not they are going to hand over the required draft compensation so as to entice a staff to really make a deal — aka the Lakers’ draft picks in 2027 and 2029. The subsequent step in that argument is, mainly, that the choice round buying and selling these picks turns into about their relative worth not solely to the remainder of the league (who, no matter any posturing, virtually definitely covets these picks) however to the Lakers themselves.

It’s that final framing that pursuits me, largely as a result of the dialogue is sort of all the time (wrongly) contextualized as these being the Lakers’ solely draft picks. For instance, right here is The Athletic’s Shams Charania discussing the Lakers’ hesitancy to commerce these picks if the staff continues to wrestle this season (emphasis mine):

“I’ve informed the group will likely be prudent with their two first spherical picks obtainable the remainder of the last decade… As of proper now, the group appears to be shifting in a path the place they are going to resist shifting first spherical picks if the season continues to go down this path.”

And right here is Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes saying one thing comparable (emphasis mine):

The query typically mentioned in Lakers’ headquarters these days is whether or not they need to go all-in expeditiously on revamping the roster round James and Anthony Davis, or are they higher served to postpone wholesale modifications till the top of the season?

Lacking youth, attractive property and draft capital to strengthen the roster, the The Lakers are solely armed with two first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, respectively.

At its worst, stating issues on this method is a blatant misrepresentation of the information. At finest, it lacks full context and, deliberately or not, might be misconstrued too simply by readers/listeners. And — due to that sort of straightforward misinterpretation — is just too typically propped up as a key motive not to commerce these picks when I’d argue different causes are literally a lot more easy and comprehensible (more on that later).

The full context of the Lakers’ draft decide scenario is that this:

  1. Between now and the top of the last decade, the Lakers are slated to have a 1st spherical decide in all however a single draft.
  2. To spell this out more clearly, in 2023, both 2024 or 2025, 2026, 2027, 2028, and 2029 the Lakers are assured to have a 1st spherical choice on draft night time. In 2023, the Pelicans can select to swap their very own 1st spherical decide with the Lakers’ decide, however, once more this nonetheless equates to the Lakers having a decide.
  3. In both 2024 or 2025, the Lakers will ship their very own 1st spherical decide to the Pelicans as a part of the Anthony Davis commerce. The Pelicans will select which decide they need after they both resolve to take the 2024 decide or defer till the following season.

Things, nonetheless, are hardly ever mentioned on this actual method when it comes to the staff’s picks, and, as a substitute, we get language like what’s highlighted within the above quotes. Regarding the buying and selling of any of those future picks, nonetheless, is the place issues get trickier and the place it is best to dive additional into the small print so as to spell issues out more (and the place language like Haynes makes use of, particularly, is on level).

Because of collective bargaining settlement guidelines that don’t permit you to commerce future draft picks in consecutive seasons (howdy, Ted Stepien!), the swap rights that the Pelicans have in 2023, and the deferment rights the Pelicans have in 2024, the Lakers’ means to commerce future picks is encumbered.

Essentially, despite the fact that the Lakers are assured to have picks in all by one draft by the top of the last decade, they can not commerce picks in 2023 (swapped to NOLA), 2024 (deferment rights), 2025 (deferment rights), or 2026 (Stepien Rule in case NOLA chooses 2024). The subsequent first decide they will commerce, then is in 2027. And then in the event that they did commerce that decide, due to the Stepien Rule, not once more after that till 2029.

Now, I can perceive not wanting to clarify this each single time. There’s typically not numerous time for nuance or context on a 60-second TV hit and even in a bigger article about one thing solely tangentially associated to this topic. But, it will be important to perceive that that is the reality of the scenario. Because, if you perceive that that is the case, the argument that the Lakers could be buying and selling their solely picks by the top of the last decade loses credulity.

Whether you continue to need to commerce the picks after contemplating these information remains to be a worthwhile dialog, after all.

Maybe you continue to worth these picks due to the potential for them to be close to the highest of the draft and giving these up now feels too dangerous. Maybe you believe that the trail in the direction of the Lakers getting their subsequent famous person participant is thru a commerce and also you believe you may want as many draft picks as doable to execute a deal. Maybe you merely worth picks more than gamers usually and also you’d want to see a famous person participant coming again to persuade you to make a commerce. These are cheap positions that cheap minds can disagree on.

Which, actually, I form of do. The Lakers, as presently constructed have two high-level superstars who can nonetheless play All-Star caliber basketball and an excellent (however not nice) solid of position gamers muddled by an unbalanced roster. The timeline of these stars and the urgency to win when you have them (and their means to play to the extent they nonetheless can) is excessive. Furthermore, the truth that the Lakers really do have more draft capital than is mentioned, that a few of that capital really can’t be traded artificially insulates the staff from gifting away an excessive amount of — and that it additionally provides them sufficient ammunition to really enhance the staff — pushes me absolutely into the camp advocating {that a} deal must be made.

Now, after all, the satan is all the time within the particulars. And discerning between what is an efficient deal — and what is not — is how presidents of basketball operations make their cash. There might be numerous iterations of trades the place the “would you or will not you” might be debated and argued out advert nauseam. So, I’m not sitting right here saying to give all the things away simply to make a deal. Prudence is required, and I believe we will all agree on that time.

Just like we will additionally agree on what picks the Lakers have now and, more importantly, what picks they’d nonetheless have even when they did resolve to deal their picks in 2027 and 2029. Because that is not in query, even when it may possibly really feel like generally it’s.

For more Lakers discuss, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher p Google Podcasts. You can observe Darius on Twitter at @forumbluegold.

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