While the Lakers have been linked with a number of variations of trades surrounding the 2023 NBA Draft, the players mentioned have featured a number of familiar names. In the hours leading up to the draft, though, an entirely new name has surfaced as a potential target.
According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Witness News in Minnesota, the Lakers have expressed interest in Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs.
One of many storylines I’ll be following tonight: If Orlando goes guard at 6, do they then move former Minnehaha Academy standout Jalen Suggs? Buzz = #Lakers one team with interest. Just turned 22, best ball ahead of him, already great defender. pic.twitter.com/P4D8q9nzXH— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 22, 2023
There would be a number of moving pieces that would need to happen before this could even come to fruition, as the Magic hold the No. 6 pick in the draft. And even if they select a guard, it’s not certain they would move Suggs.
But the Lakers and Magic front office has a history of working together as the two sides agreed to a deal that sent Mo Bama to Los Angeles. But figuring out a deal for Suggs would be a bit more interesting.
Through his two seasons in Orlando, Suggs has played just 101 games with injuries having the biggest impact on his career so far. In his time on the court, he’s struggled offensively, shooting just 38.7% for his career. He’s also a career 27.1% 3-point shooter on 398 attempts, or nearly four per game.
His value on the court has come on the defensive end of the court, where he’s shown plenty of talent and potential. Only his lack of game time has stopped him from earning accolades for his defense.
The Lakers have done well in recent seasons identifying talent they feel is being misused or they can better utilize, acquiring them and excelling. Whether it was Malik Monk or Lonnie Walker IV in free agency or Rui Hachimura via trade, the Lakers have a growing list of players coming to Los Angeles and having career years.
Suggs would fit that bill once again, but Orlando has to both be open to trading him and be enticed with a limited Lakers package in return. The team realistically only has the No. 17 pick to trade. Would that be enough to acquire a 22-year-old guard that was drafted No. 5 overall just two years ago?
It feels unlikely, both that the Lakers would be able to acquire him and that the Magic would give up on him. However, this could be the beginning of a pursuit for the Lakers as they look to find the latest hidden gem across the league.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.