Will Lakers big offseason move be a Buddy Hield trade?

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Rob Pelinka and the Lakers feel the pressure: The championship window with LeBron James will only be open so long and they need to maximize it. Now.

While the Lakers’ name comes up as a big game hunter for players such as DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry — a great fit, but the sign-and-trade to land him would hard cap the Los Angeles, gut the team’s depth and make rounding out a championship-level roster next to impossible — and Russell Westbrook, the reality likely will be smaller moves. Such as finding a point guard for the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.9 million (Austin Rivers, anyone?) and finding a shooter in a trade for Kyle Kuzma (who has limited value in the eyes of other teams).

There remains a lot of smoke around a Buddy Hield to the Lakers trade. The latest is from Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Of all the scenarios for a supporting player believed to be in play, one source close to the situation indicated the Hield deal — which would involve forward Kyle Kuzma and would also likely require Lakers forward Montrezl Harrell to opt in to the final year of his deal (worth $9.7 million) and be included — appears the most promising thus far.

For the Kings, Kuzma (three years, $39 million combined on his deal) and Harrell ($9.7 million next season if he opts in) could fit in well on the roster that is now being built around De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.

Harrell is believed to be leaning toward opting into his $9.7 million rather than testing the free agent market.

If he’s willing to play a role — and guys tend to fall in line in a LeBron-led locker room — Hield is a great fit for the Lakers. He is a sharpshooter who has to be respected at the arc — he took 72% of his shots from 3 last season and hit 39.1% of them — and he can put the ball on the floor and drive if he is overplayed. He can run some pick-and-roll and do some secondary shot creation. He’s also locked in for three seasons after this one.

Westbrook is a bigger name and would put up bigger numbers, but is he a better fit? Westbrook is not the same threat without the ball in his hands, and the Lakers aren’t taking the ball out of the hands of LeBron and Anthony Davis. Westbrook is not a 3-point shooter anyone fears (31.5% last season). Defensively, teams will help off Westbrook to double the Lakers’ other stars.

Never underestimate the draw of LeBron and the Laker brand; they could make a bold move this offseason that surprises everyone. Pelinka has proven creative.

But whatever the moves or lack of them, the chances of another Lakers’ title come down to one thing: How healthy are LeBron and Davis for the playoffs? If they are close to 100%, the Lakers are contenders. If not, well, we saw it this season.

Here is more on the Lakers

Kyle Lowry free agency latest: Pelicans want him to be their Chris Paul;... Pau Gasol: Kobe Bryant inspired me to play for Spain in Tokyo Olympics Watch Montrezl Harrell shatter backboard at pro-am game in Atlanta

Will Lakers big offseason move be a Buddy Hield trade? originally appeared on NBCSports.com

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