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NBA Trade Rumors: Lakers tried to trade up for Markelle Fultz, who ‘loved’ Magic Johnson

This one might sting in a few years.

NCAA Basketball: Washington at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Celtics are about to complete a deal sending the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft to the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 3 pick, the Los Angeles Lakers unprotected 2018 first round pick and a protected Sacramento Kings first round pick, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical.

But while the Sixers may have been the ones to consummate a trade for the No. 1 pick — where they’ll reportedly take Markelle Fultz — they weren’t the only team to talk to the Celtics.

According to Wojnarowski, the Lakers “had interest in pursuing a deal for No. 1 pick/Fultz,” but that the Sixers’ ability to offer three first-round picks was “too much to overcome.”

Wojnarowski’s report lines up with a Friday rumor that the Lakers and president of basketball operations Magic Johnson were “in love” with Fultz and wanted to deal up for him.

That “love” was also apparently mutual, according to Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

Washington guard Markell Fultz REALLY loved Magic Johnson & the Lakers, but is good with going to Philly, a source said.

If Fultz is as transcendent of a player as many expect him to be, the Lakers not being able to get a deal done will be painful. However, as the fact that it’s one of the Lakers’ own first-rounders being sent to Boston, the team doesn’t have the spare assets right now to offer up this type of haul for one player, re-emptying their asset cupboards in the process.

Instead, the Lakers will have to choose between special players in Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson, which isn’t such a bad consolation prize.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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