Lakers


Lakers' LeBron James against Dorian Finney-Smith


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LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a shot against Dorian Finney-Smith #28 of the Brooklyn Nets.

The Los Angeles Lakers have held trade talks with the Brooklyn Nets about their pair of 3-and-D wings Cam Johnson and Dorian Finney-Smith, according to LA Daily’s Anthony Irwin.

“Brooklyn wants a first-round pick for Finney-Smith, according to sources, and are a little more flexible on Johnson because of his contract and injury history,” Irwin wrote on July 3.

The Lakers, Irwin added, have been offering a combination of D’Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Jalen Hood-Schifino in all of their trade talks with several teams, the Nets included.

It is unclear who was discussed in the trade talks with the Nets.

But Russell, who once played in Brooklyn, is the name to monitor.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, “the Nets have been open to welcoming Russell back to Barclays Center since this past trade deadline.”

Russell earned his lone All-Star berth in his resume in 2019 while leading the Nets to the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The former No. 2 pick just opted into his $18.7 million player option, making one of the Lakers’ trade chips. But he was also the Lakers’ best 3-point shooter last season, sinking a career-high 41.5%.

His expiring contract is attractive to the Nets, who are entering a full rebuild after trading away Mikal Bridges.


Cam Johnson Can Boost Lakers’ 3-Point Shooting

Johnson, who has three years left on his four-year, $94.5 million contract, is a career 39.2% 3-point shooter on 5.7 attempts per game.

He fits the mold of what the Lakers are looking for with new head coach JJ Redick aiming to boost the Lakers’ outside shooting around Anthony Davis and LeBron James.

Last season, the Lakers ranked 28th in 3-point attempts per game.

Johnson shot 39.1% from 3-point range on 6.1 attempts last season. The North Carolina product averaged 13.4 points and 4.3 rebounds. With Taurean Prince gone, the Lakers could use Johnson’s two-way skill set.

But there’s also a risk attached to Johnson, hence the Nets’ willingness to be a little bit more flexible in their price point for the 3-and-D wing, as Irwin reported.

Johnson dealt with a toe injury for much of last season but has a history of small bumps and bruises adding up to keep him out for significant parts of a season. He had a meniscus surgery on his knee in 2022-23 that limited him to only 42 games.

In all, Johnson has only played 27% of his possible games in his five NBA seasons.


Dorian Finney-Smith Could Be a Better Option but Costlier

Finney-Smith is three years older than the 28-year-old Johnson. His experience, durability and defensive versatility are his edge over Johnson.

But Finney-Smith will cost the Lakers more than Johnson.

And with a $15.4 million player option after next season’s campaign, Finney-Smith might be just a one-year rental.

The 6-foot-7 Finney-Smith will represent an upgrade over Jarred Vanderbilt, especially on the offensive end. Finney-Smith shot at least 35% from the 3-point line in six of his last seven NBA seasons. He averaged 8.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in Brooklyn last season.

Finney-Smith was the Dallas Mavericks‘ top 3-and-D wing before he was shipped to Brooklyn as part of the Kyrie Irving trade.

Alder Almo is a basketball journalist covering the NBA for Heavy.com. He has more than 15 years of experience in local and international media, including broadcast, print and digital. He previously covered the Knicks for Empire Sports Media and the NBA for Off the Glass. Alder is from the Philippines and is now based in Jersey City, New Jersey. More about Alder Almo



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