After Sam Amick of The Athletic reported on Wednesday that the Hield scenario is the “most promising” of the possible deals the Lakers are pursuing, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer wrote late last night that L.A. has stepped up its efforts to get something done, adding that the talks have gained “real traction.”
Harrell technically isn’t eligible to be traded at this point, since he has yet to make a decision on his $9.7MM player option for the 2021/22 season. He’d have to pick up that option to be dealt, so he’ll have to consider several factors — if he opts out, he’d get to choose his next team, but he may not be able to match his option salary, whereas if he opts in, he may immediately be dealt to Sacramento or another team.
As O’Connor outlines, the proposed trade makes some sense for both teams. The Lakers could use a sharpshooter and secondary play-maker on the wing, and Hield certainly fits that bill, having knocked down 4.0 three-pointers per game at a 39.1% clip in 2020/21. His contract is pricey, but not especially unfavorable for a shooter of his caliber — he’s owed $62.5MM over the next three years, and his salary declines each season.
As for the Kings, they still have interest in re-signing center Richaun Holmes, but Holmes is believed to be seeking a four-year, $80MM deal, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California. Armed with only the big man’s Early Bird rights, Sacramento will have a very hard time getting anywhere near that asking price without dumping some salary to create cap space. If the Kings expect to lose Holmes, they could view Harrell as a solid alternative to step into that role of a rim-running center.
O’Connor’s report suggests the Kings would likely prefer Kuzma to Caldwell-Pope as the second player in the deal, but either one would fit into Sacramento’s rotation. Caldwell-Pope could play a three-and-D role, while Kuzma would see minutes at the four. The Kings are reportedly exploring trading Marvin Bagley III, which would open up more playing time in the frontcourt for a player like Kuzma.
The Lakers have shopped Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope to many teams around the NBA this month, per a weekend report. According to J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star (Twitter link), the Pacers, Cavaliers, Timberwolves, Jazz, and Knicks are among the teams that have been offered Kuzma in various trade scenarios.
If the Lakers and Kings want to move forward on a deal involving Hield, we can probably expect an agreement to be reached later today so that Sacramento is the team making the No. 22 pick. In that scenario, the deal may not be made official until the new league year begins next week for cap reasons.