Friday, July 30

Lakers have low-key draft night after trading first-round pick – OCRegister

The NBA Draft, in more ways than one, is a young man’s game.

Focused fully on the present, the Lakers had a quiet Wednesday evening as much of the league tried to pick and maneuver their way closer to the heels of the defending champions.

Technically, the Lakers used their first-round pick, selecting Jaden McDaniels, a 20-year-old forward out of Washington. But the No. 28 overall selection had already passed through two cities before McDaniels even put on his draft cap to compliment his bowtie tux, surrounded by friends and family on his couch.

The Lakers’ agreement over the weekend to send veteran guard Danny Green and the pick that became McDaniels to Oklahoma City was firmly in place by Sunday. By the time the pick came up Wednesday night, the Thunder had schemed additional trades to send Green to Philadelphia and McDaniels to Minnesota.

The Lakers’ own prize was Dennis Schröder, the 27-year-old point guard the organization thinks can help them carve another path to the Finals. The front office was expected to comment on the deal on Thursday morning, following a late-night call with the league to make the deal official.

After getting five lottery picks in the previous six drafts, the Lakers are no longer circling draft night as their key offseason date – the start of free agency on Friday is their red-letter day.

Beginning with penning Anthony Davis to a maximum salary contract, all of the Lakers’ goals lie on a shorter timeline, including bringing back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and learning if Avery Bradley and JaVale McGee will opt-in to the second years of their contracts. The Lakers reportedly have been looking at veterans like Wesley Matthews in free agency to bolster their depth at the wings. Getting rookies has been pushed to the back of business.

It’s a feeling the Lakers – barring some crafty moves in the next few years – will be getting used to: pushing back the excitement of draft night for the more grinding work of finding veterans and supporting role players. In addition to trading away their last two first-round picks, they’ve already traded two of their next three first-rounders in the deal that brought Davis from New Orleans.

Pelinka declined to buy a pick in the second round on Wednesday, even though the team’s scouting department has a strong history of finding solid talent outside the top of recent drafts.

In the previous five drafts alone, the Lakers selected or acquired seven current NBA players chosen outside the top 20: Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant, Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga, Svi Mykhailiuk and Talen Horton-Tucker. They subsequently moved all of those players except Horton-Tucker, who earned a ring last month, as assets to build a championship roster. The Lakers had already traded their own second-round pick, the 58th overall, to Orlando for Horton-Tucker’s draft rights in the summer of 2019.

Still, the draft’s machinations churned with teams trying to level up to challenge the Lakers, a reminder that there is plenty of work to do between now and the Dec. 1 start of training camp.

In the Western Conference, there was a literal changing of the guards for a handful of teams: The Clippers traded for Luke Kennard, swapping out Landry Shamet. The Dallas Mavericks traded for Philadelphia 76ers wing Josh Richardson, sending back Seth Curry.

Minnesota, with ambitions of getting back to the playoffs, did the most reshaping: In addition to taking McDaniels, the Timberwolves scored the No. 1 pick of the draft in Georgia’s Anthony Edwards, and worked with the Oklahoma City Thunder to reacquire Ricky Rubio, whom they first drafted back in 2009. They also traded for Argentinian forward Leandro Bolmaro. It’s a series of movies that might not make them a true threat for a playoff spot, but nonetheless a peskier team on the perimeter with cornerstones Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell already in place.

At least one notable challenger in the East saw a key deal fall apart on draft day, as a planned-sign-and-trade for the Milwaukee Bucks to get Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic crumbled two days after it was first reported. ESPN reported he would enter restricted free agency.

On a tragic note, another Western rival feared a devastating injury: The Athletic first reported Klay Thompson injured his lower right leg during a Southern California workout, leading to concerns that the Golden State Warriors All-Star guard might miss a second consecutive season after sitting out all last year with a torn ACL.

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