Los Angeles Lakers Could Turn to Trade Market for Answer at Small Forward

The search for answers at the small forward position by the Los Angeles Lakers has been a difficult thing to watch.

There was the 2013 promise shown by Xavier Henry before a torn Achilles tendon derailed his hoops dreams. There was also the bewildering sight of 6’11” Ryan Kelly lumbering down the floor on the wing this season.

But the most maddening of all has been the wasted potential of Wesley Johnson—a former No. 4 draft pick who has squandered the many chances handed to him.

True, Nick “Swaggy P” Young can light it up when he’s not injured or incurring the wrath of Lakers head coach Byron Scott. But Young is a natural 2-guard and just one more example of an ad hoc solution that doesn’t address the real problem.

The Lakers need a legitimate two-way player and, in a perfect world, someone with NBA experience who still has plenty of good years ahead.

This is, after all, a young team if you look past Kobe Bryant, who is approaching his 20th and likely final season. Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak recently spoke about his star’s waning days on Sirius XM NBA Radio.

“There have been no discussions about anything going forward. I don't think there will be,” Kupchak said. “He has indicated to me that this is it.”

Bryant himself was more circumspect, however, when addressing the rumored finality on his Twitter account. 

Management does have some strong assets to work with, including the second, 27th and 34th picks in the upcoming draft, along with plenty of cap space for the summer open market that follows.

But there are also challenges—the Lakers would be hard-pressed not to use their top pick on Karl-Anthony Towns from Kentucky or Jahlil Okafor from Duke. These are clearly the best players in the draft, and L.A. is in desperate ...

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