Could Nick Richards be moving west? That is a possibility if a certain Western Conference contender is unable to acquire someone else before the upcoming trade deadline.
Named by Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley in Surprise Lakers Targets If LA Can't Find a Star at 2024 Trade Deadline, Richards could provide a nice boost of production for Los Angeles off the bench behind Anthony Davis. The Lakers' current bench big men include Christian Wood and Jaxson Hayes, two options who are not necessarily doing enough to avoid the Lakers' front office leaving the center position alone. Being able to add another seven-foot big man into their bench mix would prove to be incredibly useful for a playoff-bound Lakers team.
For Charlotte, this connection is rooted in two areas. First off, they will clearly be sellers at the deadline, a status that applies to very few teams at the present moment. The Hornets need to market anyone and everyone who is not part of their long-term future while they can. The second part is about players considered untouchable, a group that Richards is obviously not a part of.
"He also isn't one of the three untouchables on Charlotte's roster—LaMelo Ball, Brandon Miller and Mark Williams, per Yahoo Sports' Jake Fischer—so there should be a deal to be made here, especially since Richards' $5 million salary isn't onerous."- Zach Buckley on Nick Richards
If this season would have played out differently for the Hornets and they were not staring at a record that features 22 more losses than wins (8), keeping Richards behind Mark Williams may be in their best interest. But considering they continue to lose games in embarrassing fashion, cashing in on the few trade assets they have needs to be their primary objective as they continue to build the roster for a competitive future, which is hopefully not too far down the line.