The NBA Draft is exactly one week away and, as has become a tradition unlike any other, the rumors are swirling like the tornado that picked up that poor cow in “Twister”.
Things were already complicated enough, but there have now been several reports of the Los Angeles Lakers considering trading their pick, and ESPN’s Chad Ford gave us some specifics in a release of his latest tidbits around the draft that dropped more than a few bombshells, including some uncertainty at the very top of the draft not previously heard of this year.
Since the Lakers won the lottery the consensus number two pick has been Lonzo Ball, but again, as players have worked out and agents have worked to get positive spin about their clients and negative spin about others, some doubt has crept in even in that regard.
As the top four or five picks have become so fluid, teams are positioning themselves to try to gain an extra asset or two, and the Lakers are no exception to that activity.
But another scenario has piqued the franchise's interest. The Lakers held internal discussions about trading back two spots to No. 4 if the Suns were to offer them a 2018 first-round pick. The Suns hold their own 2018 pick (which currently projects to be a high lottery pick) as well as the rights to the Miami Heat's 2018 pick. The latter pick is top-seven-protected in 2018 but unprotected in 2019.
The Lakers believe that Ball or Jackson might be available at the No. 4 spot. If not, the Lakers are still very high on Fox and Tatum, and believe that securing an additional prospect might be worth dropping two spots in the draft.
There is literally no harm in having these discussions internally. If the Lakers aren’t sold on either Ball or Jackson as being head-and-shoulders above the other and feel they can pick up an additional asset while still winding up with one of them, great.
As Ford indicates, the Lakers will not have their own first rounder next year and seeing as they will probably still be in rebuilding mode, all assets that they can possibly acquire (or dump in the case of the Timofey Mozgov or Luol Deng contracts) will only further appeal to someone like Paul George.
Just know that if you feel like these rumors are becoming too much, you aren’t alone.