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#pounditMonday, May 20, 2024

Lakers linked to 2 notable defenders on trade market

The Lakers logo at half court

Apr 22, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers logo at center court during game three of the 2023 NBA playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers may be setting more realistic goals ahead of the February trade deadline.

Appearing this week on the “Hoops Tonight” podcast, Lakers insider Jovan Buha of The Athletic mentioned the team in connection with two notable defensive pieces from the Brooklyn Nets — forwards Dorian Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale.

“Those are two guys the Lakers have had interest in dating back to last offseason and even last trade deadline,” said Buha of Finney-Smith and O’Neale, per Bleacher Report. “So I know that those are two guys that they would have interest in bringing in [this season].”

Finney-Smith and O’Neale, both 30 years old, are two superb role guys for the Nets. Each can play either forward position and check the other team’s top perimeter threat with their length. The ability to spread the floor for a player like LeBron James is there as well since Finney-Smith is shooting 44.8 percent from deep this year and O’Neale is at 39.2 percent himself.

For the Lakers, Taurean Prince has largely been disappointing this season (especially defensively), and Jarred Vanderbilt is still working his way back into form after recently returning from a lengthy injury. As such, Finney-Smith and/or O’Neale (the latter of whom may be more gettable as an expiring contract) would be excellent fits in L.A. Those aren’t the only potential defensive ugprades that the Lakers are eyeing though.

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