The Lakers are projected to draft Purdue star big man Zach Edey.

Getty Images The Lakers are projected to draft Purdue star big man Zach Edey.

The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to award-winning Purdue big man Zach Edey as a potential “plug-and-play” option ahead of the NBA Draft.

The 7-foot-4 center is one of the most intriguing names in the draft. The projections for Edey are all over the board, although nearly everyone sees the two-time National College Player of the Year as a first-round pick.

ESPN’s latest mock draft by Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo has the Lakers snagging Edey with the No. 17 overall pick.

“The Lakers likely will explore the trade market to see what type of veterans they can add to give LeBron James, Anthony Davis and new coach JJ Redick the best chance of competing this season, with NBA players such as Dejounte Murray and Collin Sexton being batted around by rival teams as possible targets,” Givony wrote. “Should the Lakers elect to stand pat, picking a plug-and-play center like Edey would make a lot of sense.”

Kyle Boone of CBS Sports also believes the Lakers will take Edey to add some more size around Anthony Davis.

“With JJ Redick in place as the coach and the Lakers seemingly locked in on bringing in Bronny later in the draft, L.A. signals its intentions to remain competitive around LeBron with a win-now piece in Zach Edey, who can be a depth piece at center right away,” Boone wrote. “Edey is coming off back-to-back player of the year seasons at Purdue.”

Lakers Looking for ‘Significant Contributor’ Via Trade

Edey would be an interesting addition for the Lakers. However, the Lakers may part ways with their pick on Wednesday night. The team has made the pick available, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

“Los Angeles has also made that No. 17 selection available via trade, sources said, as the Lakers have evaluated the market for a significant contributor alongside James and Davis,” Fischer wrote on Monday, June 24. “The Lakers, remember, held serious talks with Atlanta about acquiring Dejounte Murray in the lead-up to February’s trade deadline. Jerami Grant, a client of Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, is believed to be another potential addition on the Lakers’ wishlist.”

The Lakers want to build around Davis and, potentially, James. The 39-year-old superstar is weighing a player option. James has until June 29 to make a decision. Packaging the pick and landing another star could go a long way in helping the Lakers entice the four-time MVP to return.

Lakers Unsure if Trade Will Materialize

It’s been a busy week for the Lakers. On Monday, JJ Redick was officially introduced as the team’s next head coach. He was accompanied by the Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, who gave some insight on a potential trade.

“The trades are less prevalent than they used to be,” Pelinka said. “Will we look for trades that help us become a better team? Absolutely. Do [those trades] have the same probability as they did in the old system? No. It’s a new system. And I do think, as I stated at the beginning, part of the road to a really, really good team – and you can look around the landscape of the league right now with many young teams doing really, really well – is going to be to lean hard into that player development piece.

“If the perfect trade comes along and we can use picks to make it and win a championship, yeah, we’ll do it. Is that trade going to be there? I don’t know. It’s harder in this system to find perfect trades.”

The NBA Draft is scheduled for Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27. The Lakers have picks No. 17 overall and No. 55 in the second round.

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