The Lakers appear to be leaning into their numerous strengths heading into the upcoming NBA draft. On top of having one of the best scouting departments in the league, the Lakers are one of the most valuable franchises in the country, let alone the NBA.
It makes sense then that the franchise is looking to buy a second round draft pick in the upcoming NBA draft. After a report from John Hollinger of The Athletic indicated the Lakers were interested in buying a draft pick, general manager Rob Pelinka confirmed their interest in doing so.
In speaking with Mike Bresnahan of Spectrum Sportsnet on Monday, following the introductory press conference of Darvin Ham as head coach, Pelinka noted that their goal is to trade up into the second round.
“One of the intentional philosophical architectural visions for us is to get younger and coach Ham has a passion for developing players. It would be a goal for us to somehow get in the second round to get a young player that we can develop. We’ve had great success if you look at our draft history and the guys we’ve drafted and developed and we think we can do it again in 2022 if we can pull off a trade to get a pick.”
As it stands, the Lakers do not have a pick in the upcoming draft, but they do have money to trade for a second round pick. According to HoopsRumors, the Lakers have just over $4.4 million they can send out in trades.
For comparison’s sake, when they purchased the No. 46 pick in 2019 that became Talen Horton-Tucker, it cost $2.2 million. In 2014, the No. 46 pick cost the Lakers $1.8 million. Last season, the No. 53 pick cost the Sixers $2 million.
So, not only do the Lakers have enough money to purchase a pick based on recent precedent, they could potentially buy multiple picks in the draft. Given Pelinka’s reference to a singular “young player,” it’s likely they only pursue one pick.
There are a number of teams they could look to as trade targets, perhaps led by Minnesota with their three picks in the second round at No. 40, No. 49 and No. 51. In total, seven other teams have a pair of second round picks: the Cavaliers, Warriors, Hornets, Kings, Blazers, Pacers and Magic.
Regardless of who they may end up trading with, though, it’s nice to see the Lakers treating their scouting department like the organizational strength that it is, and using their financial muscle to lean into that strength.