Lakers Land Pelicans’ Jonas Valanciunas In Bold Trade Proposal

Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, NBA Trade Rumors
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Any team in the NBA would love roster to LeBron James. It’s a privilege. After all, James is one of the best players in NBA history. 

With that said, it comes with expectations. Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers. They’re having a mediocre season. Still, with James on the roster, mediocrity is seen as a catastrophe. 

What should the Lakers do? Some have them making a blockbuster trade at the deadline. Others would prefer to see the Lakers trade James and start over. Could they find a middle ground by landing Jonas Valanciunas of the New Orleans Pelicans? 

NBA Trade Proposal 

New Orleans Pelicans Receive: G Gabe Vincent, F/C Jaxson Hayes, 2024 Second-Round Pick (LAC via LAL), 2025 Second-Round Pick (LAC via LAL), 2027 Second-Round Pick (LAL)

Los Angeles Lakers Receive: C Jonas Valanciunas

Having James ought to come with high expectations. Just look at James’ career. There’s a reason he’s so well-regarded in NBA history. 

During his prime, James’ appearance in the NBA Finals was practically a foregone conclusion. If he wasn’t leading the Cleveland Cavaliers there, it was because he was on the Miami Heat.

James has won four NBA championships despite playing during the Golden State Warriors dynasty. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Still, perhaps the most impressive aspect of James’ career has been his longevity. He’s approaching 40, and somehow, James is still playing at an All-NBA level.

Does acquiring Valanciunas help the Lakers capitalize on his prime? 

Why The Los Angeles Lakers Do The Deal 

The Lakers could make bigger deals than this one. On the other hand, it may be wise to hold off. This team is light on draft capital, but this summer, they’ll have an extra pick that’s eligible to be moved. 

In the meantime, they don’t need to punt this season. The Lakers can still make a win-now upgrade. That’s what they’re doing here. Valanciunas is a stretch big man who can score on the interior. He’s a bit of a defensive liability, but that’s less of a problem for the Lakers, with Anthony Davis anchoring them. 

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

Moreover, Valanciunas is on an expiring contract. The Lakers are saving some money here while also picking up the best player in the deal. That’s worth the cost of three second-rounders.

Should the Pelicans accept that price for Valanciunas? 

Why The New Orleans Pelicans Do The Deal 

By all accounts, the Pelicans are open to moving Valanciunas. They’d like a better defensive big man. Why not reunite with Hayes? For what it’s worth, he offers more of a defensive presence than Valanciunas. 

Sure, the Pelicans are likely aiming higher. Like the Lakers, they may do well to be patient. The Pelicans could pick up another big on the buy-out market to finish out the season. If they’re not satisfied with the rest of their season, they could dump some assets into a higher profile big this summer. 

There is a downside for the Pelicans here. They’re taking on Vincent’s contract. Still, it’s not especially burdensome, and Vincent could actually play a role on this team.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jonas Valanciunas, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers Updates

In the meantime, picking up three second-rounders for a player they’ll otherwise let walk this summer is worth their time. Hopefully, Valanciunas can stand the pressure that comes with playing next to LeBron James. 

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