The Lakers have reportedly made the first of what could be multiple draft-day trades to start off Thursday. Per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers have traded the No. 47 pick and cash to the Pacers for the No. 40 pick.
For now, the Lakers have the No. 17 pick in the first round to pair with this selection:
The Lakers now own Nos. 17 and 40 on the draft board tonight. They made a move up a board that's believed to have some real second-round value. The Pacers hold four picks tonight, including Nos. 7, 26, 47 and 55. https://t.co/ixRKyUd3dI— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 22, 2023
The money involved in the deal is very interesting as well. The Lakers reportedly sent the Pacers over $4 million. It’s a huge amount of money considering last year, the Lakers spent less than half of that to outright buy the No. 35 pick.
It’s $4.35 million in cash from the Lakers to the Pacers, per source https://t.co/JNbnQN82i6— Tony East (@TonyREast) June 22, 2023
Would be interesting, probably only to me, to find out how much cash. Lakers only had $4.4 million left to send this league year while Pacers were only allowed to take back $5 million. https://t.co/s8qR5szPtY— Justin Russo (@FlyByKnite) June 22, 2023
The Lakers sent out $2M at the trade deadline to Orlando and still had up to $4.4M to send out in a deal.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 22, 2023
Full cash allotment resets on July 1. https://t.co/J9WZhuRHj1
There are a number of things this could indicate. It could be seen as a much better and deeper draft than last year and, as a result, the price of picks has gone up. It also could be indicative of something bigger between the two teams, but more on that shortly.
While the Lakers are no strangers to wheeling and dealing for second round picks, the timing of this deal is a bit odd. Typically, second-round picks aren’t dealt this far out because it’s unclear who is even going to be available in that range.
But as a team that always casts a wide net in the predraft process, perhaps the Lakers have their eye on one or multiple targets in the range of the No. 40 pick. Perhaps in discussing potential trades, this was a deal they felt they couldn’t pass up on.
Either way, the Lakers have moved up closer to the top of the second round as a result. And choosing the Pacers is very interesting in that regard as well.
In the build-up to the draft, the noise has grown louder and louder that the Lakers could be looking to make a trade, though not with the No. 47 pick. With the No. 17 pick, there has been discussion about whether they may trade up for an instant-impact type of prospect or trade down in hopes of landing a veteran player to contribute.
Two of the names linked to the Lakers in the trading down scenario were Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, both still on the Pacers. This trade of second round picks doesn’t change any of those rumors and, with no salaries being swapped in this trade, it could easily be expanded into something involving Hield, Turner and the No. 17 pick.
The amount of money sent by the Lakers could be them greasing the wheels on a trade between the two sides, It’s a large amount of money, more than double what they spent on a higher pick last year. And while that could come down to picks being valued more this year in a stronger draft, it could also be the Lakers looking to sweeten the pot for a potentially bigger deal down the road today.
There’s also the possibility that the Lakers were looking for a better pick to include in a different deal to potentially trade up in the draft. An early second-round pick is more valuable than a mid-second-round pick, but it’s hard to imagine seven spots would make all that much of a difference when trying to trade up.
While all of that is speculation, what is known now is that the Lakers have the No. 17 and No. 40 picks for tonight’s draft and look set to rely on their scouting department to hit another homer or two this year.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.