"Gotta free up cap space for Bronny" - Lakers fans express shock after reports of LA being open to trading Jarred Vanderbilt

Lakers fans express shock after reports of LA open to trading Jarred Vanderbilt
Lakers fans express shock after reports of LA being open to trading Jarred Vanderbilt

Following their first-round playoff exit, the LA Lakers are reportedly open to moving several key role players, including defensive-minded forward Jarred Vanderbilt. The news of the fan favorite's potential departure left Lakers fans surprised and frustrated as they expressed an overwhelming desire to retain him.

Despite entering this season with NBA championship aspirations, LA finished seventh (47-35) in the Western Conference. It followed that up with a 4-1 Round 1 postseason defeat against the Denver Nuggets. Nonetheless, the franchise appears committed to revamping its roster around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis to try to contend next season.

On Wednesday, The Athletic's Jovan Buha touched on the Lakers' offseason plans on his podcast "Buha's Block." He noted that they will have up to five "tradeable" player assets this summer. That includes Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves, Gabe Vincent and D'Angelo Russell if he opts into his $18.7 million player option for next season.

Per Buha, the Lakers could flip a combination of those mid-size contract players to "acquire another star or a higher-impact role player." He added that they are all "movable to an extent."

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Upon seeing the news, most LA fans on X/Twitter were dismayed, highlighting Vanderbilt's importance defensively.

"It’ll be so stupid to trade Vando away," @LakeShowGo said.
"I speak for all Lakers fans when I say we will not be trading Vando," @BernieKnowsBall said.
"Trading our best perimeter defender would be a mistake," @GOAT_GV said.
"The Lakers are falling apart," @CalebbMuse said.

However, some fans were more understanding, citing Vanderbilt's health struggles. The 25-year-old appeared in only 29 out of 82 games this season and missed LA's first-round series against Denver due to a foot injury.

"He was injured a majority of last season, can’t blame them," @spomuse said.

Meanwhile, a few cracked jokes about the Lakers' offseason plans, including the reported possibility of them drafting James' son, Bronny.

"They gotta free up cap space for Bronny somehow," @EVERSOORIGINAL said.

Also Read: “I didn't know he was on the floor”: Dan Patrick calls Bronny James a ‘late bloomer’ but holds out hope for LeBron James' son

Lakers reportedly prefer to keep Austin Reaves over Jarred Vanderbilt

While LA could part with some of its top role players this offseason, it would reportedly prefer to retain Austin Reaves most of all.

In his podcast, Jovan Buha said that "teams are certainly going to ask for Austin Reaves, and the Lakers are going to fight them on that and try to keep him."

According to Buha, Rui Hachimura is the most likely to be traded, due to the tradeable three-year, $51 million contract he signed last summer. However, he noted that LA isn't "actively trying to get Rui off its roster," it just needs to include the offensive-minded forward for salary matching.

He added that the Lakers could package Gabe Vincent and Jarred Vanderbilt instead of Hachimura, but such a move would weaken their defense.

So, LA will likely be tasked with some tough offseason decisions in its quest to return to title contention.

Also Read: 5 reasons why Bronny James Joining a Team Built for LeBron is a bad idea

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