The trade rumors simply don’t stop for the Lakers, who sit at 9th in the West at 22-22. This time, NBA insider Marc Stein has listed LA as a suitor for Bruce Brown, the now-Raptors guard who gave LA problems in the 2023 Western Conference Finals.

With a plethora of names already mentioned, where does Brown rank on a list of Lakers’ trade targets, and should LA even consider a move for him given their recent success?

NBA Rumors: Should Lakers Trade for Ex-Conference Finals Foe?

Background

Bruce Brown made a name for himself during Denver’s championship run. The 6-foot-4 guard/forward averaged 12 points (.511/.316/.857 splits), four rebounds, two assists and one steal in the 2023 playoffs. His efforts not only brought him well-deserved acclaim, but also a two-year, $45 million contract with the Indiana Pacers.

Brown’s time with the Pacers was short-lived, but still memorable. In 33 games—all starts—the 27-year-old put up 12.1 points on nearly 48% shooting from the field. He remained a steady facilitator and defender, averaging three assists and one steal for head coach Rick Carlisle. Still, the Pacers moved him to the Raptors in a three-team deal that landed them Pascal Siakam.

Brown has only played two games for Toronto, but has remained efficient in both contests. He’s averaged 11.5 points on 55% shooting, in addition to five rebounds and one steal. Brown is reprising his role as a backup to Dennis Schröder as Toronto enters a new direction.

The Latest on the Lakers and Bruce Brown

As of now, both Stein and Shams Charania pointed out that Brown is the latest name on a long list of Lakers targets.

Brown is making $22 million this season with a $23 million Team Option for 2024-25. It’s not different from most of the other players that the team is looking into, and there certainly are avenues for a deal to get done.

Marc Stein’s sources have revealed the exact asking price for the defending champion: “a future first-round pick and a quality player … at a minimum.” The Lakers have both of those at their disposal, with key players making significant salaries and at least a 2029 or 2030 first-rounder.

Should the Lakers Trade for Bruce Brown?

With LA’s recent success, it makes sense for many fans to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, it’s also clear that the Lakers’ list of trade targets would help them in one way or another. Folks may jump at the chance to acquire someone who was on the other side of their championship hopes. However, Brown is someone the Lakers may want to steer clear of.

Brown isn’t much of a scorer or playmaker like Dejounte Murray or Terry Rozier, though he has a leg up in terms of his defense and versatility, and he fills some needs on both ends of the floor. Still, as Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker noted, Brown may not be as much of a “difference-maker” either, putting him beneath the other two (and possibly more) on any Lakers wish list.

Fans should also consider if Brown is an upgrade over D’Angelo Russell, who has stepped up to become a lethal scorer over the last five games.

Russell’s hot stretch coupled with his emotions on Sunday have led to fans begging the Lakers to “#KeepDLo”. They’ve continually recognized his importance to the team despite the shifting rotations, and are imploring Darvin Ham and his coaching staff to do the same.

Moving on from someone like Russell or Rui Hachimura in exchange for a sixth-man guard does not really move the needle for the Lakers, and he won’t solve all of their problems. His arrival could also hurt the development of Austin Reaves, who fulfills the same roles as Brown but is a better playmaker and shooter than him. As talented as Brown is, downgrading from players who are helping the Lakers win would be a foolish move by Rob Pelinka. It’d be a step backwards in the team’s title pursuit.

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