Bojan Bogdanovic couldn’t have picked a better time to score a season-high 38 points and sink six three-pointers. The sharp-shooting forward showed his elite shooting prowess against the Los Angeles Lakers (in a game the Detroit Pistons ultimately loss), and a new report indicates the Lakers are interested in trading for Bogdanovic as they look to improve perimeter shooting.
In the latest rundown of league rumors, Shams Sharania of The Athletic writes that the Lakers are “prioritizing shooting … and have discussed packages including salaries and a protected first-round pick for Detroit’s Bojan Bogdanovic.”
Now, just because that was what the Lakers said, doesn’t mean Detroit did much other than listen politely. The Lakers can’t convey a pick until 2027 or 2029, and while it is easy to say LeBron James and Anthony Davis will no longer be a factor for the Lakers five years from now, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers’ picks will be in the lottery. The Lakers could go through a rebuilding cycle and be on the other side by 2027. Still, if the Pistons are willing to deal Bogdanovic, the protections or lack thereof on that pick would be the prime sticking point.
Also, if the Pistons are willing to part with Bojan after half a season and just months after signing him to a multi-year extension, they will likely have multiple suitors willing to part with a first-rounder.
Charania writes in his piece that there are plenty of suitors, and that Detroit is at least posturing as a team who is reluctant to part with their ace shooter:
While Bogdanovic is a target for the Lakers — they are among roughly a dozen teams to inquire about him, offering first- or second-rounders — Detroit is showing no urgency about moving him. In fact, the Pistons have expressed to rival teams a significant reluctance about moving Bogdanovic, sources said.
The Croatian forward is averaging a career-high 21 points per game with shooting splits of 50/43/89, all on a team without any other consistently reliable scoring threats. The Pistons have indicated an interest in keeping Bojan in the fold, at least publicly. The thinking goes, they want a veteran shooter who can provide clarity among the chaos of building around young players like Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley III.
As much sense as that makes, if the price was right, I’m sure Troy Weaver would be willing to send out Bogdanovic for some prime draft capital. Is a 2027 Lakers pick prime enough? We shall see.
There is also the concern of salary matching, and as Russell Westbrook settles into his role as the backup point guard, it is unclear if Russ is the first person LA would be interested in sending out in any deal.
Bogdanovic makes $19 million this season while Russ makes $47 million. That imbalance makes it hard to build a deal around both. The Lakers could package Patrick Beverly, Lonnie Walker and Kendrick Nunn for Bojan and Rodney McGruder. But it is unclear how much an already thin Lakers squad is willing to surrender to add some reliable 3-point shooting.
Charania writes that what appears to be LA’s backup or supplemental plans include New York’s Cam Reddish and Evan Fourier.