The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a landing spot for a 28-year-old $37 million star.
Alex Kirschenbaum of Sports Illustrated wrote on March 12 that New York Knicks swingman Josh Hart is a player the Lakers could use next season. The Villanova product can become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his 2023-24 player option worth $12.9 million.
“The 28-year-old defensive-oriented wing has been the ultimate glue guy in New York,” Kirschenbaum wrote. “The team instantly went on a nine-game winning streak after it traded for him, and really seems to be a frisky playoff pseudo-contender in the East with his addition. He has a $12.6 million player option for the 2023-24 NBA season. He’s been an outstanding fit with New York, and seems more likely than not to re-sign there if anything. That said, should he want to look around, Hart could be in line for a decent raise this summer. The Lakers have a few big cap decisions to make this summer, but could find a way to carve out room for Hart if they wanted to. He’s an okay three-point shooter (34.8% for his career on 3.8 tries), but most importantly for Los Angeles, he would help the team continue its defensive overhaul that has seen it rise to the top team in overall defensive rating since the February 9th trade deadline. This season, Hart is averaging 9.8 points on .523/.360/.723 shooting splits, 7.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.1 steals a night.”
Hart, who began his career with the Lakers, signed a three-year, $37.9 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans in August 2021. The Pelicans traded the versatile guard to the Portland Trail Blazers in February 2022. Hart was acquired by the Knicks at the 2023 trade deadline.
Josh Hart Has Improved Since Getting Traded by the Lakers
Hart averaged 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in his first two seasons with the Lakers across 130 games while shooting 43.5% from the field, 36.1% from beyond the arc and 69.5% from the free-throw line. Since getting traded by Los Angeles in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade, the Maryland native has improved his game.
With the Pelicans, Blazers and Knicks, Hart has averaged 11.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He has an incredible plus-minus of …read more