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Why The Unprotected 2025 Pick From The Lakers Could Be the Best Asset for Atlanta From the Dejounte Murray Trade

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Why The Unprotected 2025 Pick From The Lakers Could Be the Best Asset for Atlanta From the Dejounte Murray Trade


One of the biggest trades of the offseason went down last night when Atlanta moved Dejounte Murray to New Orleans for Dyson Daniels, Larry Nance, and two first-round picks. One of the picks is in next year’s draft and it is an unprotected pick from the Los Angeles Lakers. While Daniels is the asset that Hawks fans like the most in this trade at the moment, I think the big prize might be the Lakers pick that is coming back to Atlanta. Atlanta was not guaranteed to have a first round pick in next year’s draft due to trading for Dejounte Murray back in 2022, but now they have one. If the Kings pick conveys (protected 1-12), Atlanta could have two first round picks next year.

Let’s break down why the Lakers pick could be so valuable.

Trading Murray to New Orleans took away one of the Lakers top targets this offseason. Los Angeles as currently constructed is a very average team in a loaded Western Conference and the number of trade targets to help them improve next year is dwindling. Could they target Brandon Ingram or Zach LaVine? Donovan Mitchell seems ready to re-sign with Cleveland, Trae Young is not getting moved, Phoenix is not moving anyone, it does not sound like Minnesota is moving Karl-Anthony Towns, and I don’t think the Lakers have the necessary assets to trade for Lauri Markkanen. The Lakers could always pull a surprise and land someone nobody expects them too, but the list of trade targets is dwindling.

Not only is the Western Conference loaded, but the Lakers would have to hope that they get another fully healthy season from both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, something that is not guaranteed. Davis just had his most fully healthy season maybe of his entire career and put up an All-NBA season. James was healhty for most of the season and still put up great numbers. Both of those things happened and the Lakers were still a Zion Williamson injury away in the play-in tournament from being put in a win or go home game vs the Kings, which they might have lost. What if Davis and James can’t stay healthy? That could be big trouble for the Lakers.

Assuming they do both stay healthy, it bears repeating that the Western Conference is very stacked. Let’s look at last year’s standings and see where the Lakers could fit in:

1. Oklahoma City- Added Alex Caruso to an already stacked lineup that was the No. 1 seed last season.

2. Denver- Might lose Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but still have Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray

3. Minnesota- Bringing their entire team back and should be a contender

4. Clippers- They are the biggest question mark so far, but they could bring back Paul George and James Harden, making them a better team than the Lakers.

5. Dallas- Just made the Finals and could have some moves up their sleeve to add to their team

6. Phoenix- Even with all of their injuries and problems last year, they finished higher than the Lakers.

8- New Orleans- Just added Murray, but they still have moves to make. They also need to stay healthy.

9. Sacramento- Kings nearly made the playoffs last year and should be right in the mix again. They also have been rumored to be interested in makings moves to add to their team.

10. Golden State- The Warriors might lose Klay Thompson, but they are reportedly trying to make big moves to add to the team around Steph Curry. They are a question mark though.

11. Houston- The Rockets nearly made the play-in last year are clearly ready to make a playoff push.

12. Utah- Not a playoff team

13. Memphis- The Grizzlies are healthy again and should be a contender in the West.

14. San Antonio- Not ready to challenge for a playoff spot with Victor Wembanyama just yet barring a surprise.

15. Portland- Could trade away more pieces and be the worst team in the NBA

Looking at the standings, the only teams I can guarantee the Lakers will be better than going into next year (right now) is Utah, Portland, and San Antonio. Some good teams are going to miss the playoffs in the Western Conference next season and one of them could be the Lakers, which would place them in the Draft Lottery in what is supposed to be a loaded 2025 Draft Class.

There could be some big moves made that make the Lakers much better, but they are not clear right now. That could make their pick a very, very good asset next offseason.



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