Plenty of scenarios could emerge that dictate how the Lakers will use their seventh overall draft pick leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft next Thursday.
They could trade it in hopes of obtaining multiple mid to late first-round draft picks, or a more developed player than an unseasoned rookie would likely offer. The Lakers may keep their draft pick in hopes that Kansas center Joel Embiid becomes available since teams drafting ahead of the Lakers may feel concerned over his surgery on Friday to repair a stress fracture in his right foot.
If Embiid’s injuries and subsequent recovery appears too much of a risk, the Lakers could opt for a safer route in selecting a promising prospect that may take longer to develop. Such options would likely involve either a point guard (Australia’s Dante Exum, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart, Louisiana–Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton) or forward (Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, Indiana’s Noah Vonleh).
The Lakers are “open to anything,” said a person familiar with the Lakers’ thought process.
The Los Angeles Times reported the Lakers’ efforts to acquire Klay Thompson from Golden State for their seventh overall pick as part of a three-team trade proposal that would send Minnesota All-Star forward Kevin Love to the Warriors.
Lakers and Warriors sources declined to confirm the Times’ report. But it remains to be seen, however, whether such an offer would materialize. The Warriors love the 24-year-old Thompson, who is considered one of the league’s most efficient outside shooters and improved defenders. After ranking among the NBA’s best in three-point shooting through his first three seasons, Klay is projected to become an All-Star within those in the Warriors organization.
For the Lakers, however, Thompson would be intriguing option for a number of reasons. He would likely accelerate the Lakers’ rebuilding process much quicker than if the Lakers used their seventh overall pick. The former Santa Margarita High standout is also the father of former Laker Mychal Thompson, who has served as a radio analyst for KSPN-710 AM for the past 11 years.
The Lakers have not had a first-round pick since 2007, either trading or selling them for the hopes of maximizing a championship-caliber roster. The Lakers do not have one next season because they gave it up in 2012 as part of the Steve Nash deal.
The Lakers only have Nash, Kobe Bryant and Robert Sacre under contract next season. The Lakers have a team option on Kendall Marshall for a one year on a non guaranteed deal. That leaves the Lakers with very few assets outside of their draft pick to offer in any trade. The Lakers would never trade Bryant for reasons involving both his skillset and the public relations fallout. Trading Nash’s expiring $9.8 million contract could be enticing because of the uncertainty surrounding a back injury that limited him last season only to 15 games. But teams would likely be skeptical of the 40-year-old Nash offering much in value in exchange for a young asset.
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