Following a busy NBA trade deadline, the Lakers will now turn to the buyout market. The reigning champions will be locking in on possible buyout targets.

Missing out on Kyle Lowry left the Lakers empty-handed on deadline day. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are likely to welcome a couple of new teammates before the playoffs, however, such is the Lakers’ pull for players who have been bought out.

Lakers buyout targets

Markieff Morris arrived last season. Morris played a considerable role in the postseason, operating either at the four or the five. He was a significant pick up as the Lakers won their first title in a decade. Getting a similar impact on the 2021 buyout market is far from guaranteed, but the Lakers will certainly explore the options.

Here are three veterans who could help the Lakers as they defend their crown.

Otto Porter

The frustration at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Wes Matthews is frequent among Laker fans. Some of it is justified. All teams can benefit from another three-and-D wing, and Otto Porter fills that void. Having been traded to the Magic in the shock Nikola Vucevic deal, Porter is a definite buyout candidate in the coming days.

 
 
 
 

Orlando has no reason to keep Porter around. They’re not going to re-sign him, and Porter is probably keen to get to a contender. The former Washington Wizard is yet to enjoy a deep playoff run.

This isn’t a dire need for the Lakers. Porter might not get many minutes, but having more competition for those wing spots can’t hurt.

Andre Drummond

This almost feels like a foregone conclusion. No longer playing for the Cavaliers and on an expiring contract, it’s hard to see Andre Drummond ending up anywhere other than the purple and gold half of Staples Center.

Drummond is atop the Lakers buyout targets. His rebounding ability is well known, but there’s more to his game. Drummond is a phenomenal athlete. Adapting his offensive game to fit with LeBron James is a tantalizing prospect.

On the defensive end, Drummond is far from an elite interior presence, but his size will be helpful if the Lakers face Rudy Gobert or Nikola Jokic in a seven-game series. This seems like a no-brainer.

Hassan Whiteside

If the Drummond thing doesn’t work out, the Lakers could take a look at Hassan Whiteside.

Again, the Lakers have been linked with Whiteside recently. Like Drummond, his game isn’t exactly in-keeping with how many NBA teams play now, but that’s not to say he’s not got a purpose.

Whiteside’s defense has been dissected repeatedly. Rightly so. He’s not a good defender, and on offense he can be caught trying too much. Just adding his length and athleticism could be valuable for the Lakers, though, particularly if they want to preserve Anthony Davis at center minutes for the fourth quarter of postseason games.

His shot blocking numbers don’t make him a good defender, but they are a sign of what he can offer the Lakers. Davis and LeBron can cover for the lapses on the defensive end. Whiteside can chase blocks and catch lobs – he’d be handy in the JaVale McGee role.

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