According to a report from the International Business Times, the Los Angeles Lakers have put Nets point guard Deron Williams on their radar:
"Mitch Kupchak says he is willing to trade current pick (1-9) for good offer. Also wants to trade for another pick for middle/late 1st round," Mark Medina of Los Angeles Daily News last week.
Another target for the Lakers is veteran point guard Deron Williams, who has been subpar for the past two seasons in Brooklyn. Williams, former perennial All-Star, wants to get out from his current situation with the Nets in hope of reviving his career with a championship contender team.
The IB Times report doesn't directly state that the Lakers have contacted the Nets regarding Williams, only that Williams is a potential target of theirs, particularly if a deal for Kevin Love falls through. The Lakers hold the seventh overall pick in this season's draft and no second-round pick.
Another issue that would hold up the deal is the Lakers' asking price. If the report that they want to move down in the draft is true, the Nets can't help them out: the Nets traded their 2014 pick (now locked in at 17th overall) to the Boston Celtics last offseason in the deal that netted them Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
Lakers Nation, a leading website covering the Lakers, acknowledges that the Lakers tried to strike a deal for Williams in the 2012 offseason when Williams was a free agent, adding that the team's interest as of last week is "unknown."
Theoretically, it's doable. Williams is owed about $19.8 million next season, and the 2014-15 salary cap is projected at $63.2 million. If the Lakers renounce the rights to Kendall Marshall and their salary exceptions, they'd have roughly $25 million in cap room to play with: they only have Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Robert Sacre, and nine "cap holds" currently on their 2014-15 books.
That would give the Lakers the ability to swallow Williams's contract under the cap without sending any players back in return. The move would also bring the Nets under the luxury tax threshold for 2014-15, even if Kevin Garnett exercises his player option for $12 million.
It would be a huge commitment by the Lakers to Williams, who has struggled to meet expectations in three-plus seasons with the Nets. But if the Lakers panic into "win-now" mode with Kobe Bryant hitting 36 years old this offseason, they might sacrifice their future in an attempt to win now. (Sound familiar?)
A high-ranking Nets source told The Brooklyn Game last week that the Nets have yet to explore the trade market for next season, and that Williams is frustrated in Brooklyn, but has not requested a trade.
International Business Times -- NBA Trade News: Lakers Target Deron Williams, Kevin Love; GM Mitch Kupchak Looks To Trade First-Rounder For Stars
Lakers Nation -- NBA Rumors: Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets Looking To Part Ways?