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The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly acquired the No. 35 overall pick in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft from the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowskithe Lakers agreed to send a future second-round pick and cash to the Magic in exchange for the selection.
The reported trade went down just hours before the start of the draft, which will emanate from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, beginning at 8 pm ET.
Prior to the reported trade, the Lakers did not own a pick in the 2022 NBA draft, as both their first- and second-round selections had previously been traded.
LA would have picked eighth overall in the first round, but that pick was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the Anthony Davis trade.
Likewise, the No. 38 overall pick in the second round originally belonged to the Lakers, but ultimately ended up with the San Antonio Spurs.
The trade makes sense for both the Lakers and the Magic, as it allows the Lakers to make a pick Thursday night and gives Orlando a future asset.
Since the Magic already owns the Nos. 1 and 32 overall picks in the draft, a third selection wasn’t a necessity.
Per Wojnarowski, it is widely expected that Orlando will make Auburn forward Jabari Smith the top pick in the draft Thursday night. The Magic should have some solid talent to choose from at No. 32 as well.
It is anyone’s guess who will be available when the Lakers pick at No. 35, but in his final 2022 NBA mock draft, Bleacher Report NBA draft expert Jonathan Wasserman had Michigan wing Caleb Houstan going 35th overall to Orlando.
Other notable players projected by Wasserman to be available at No. 35 or later include Arizona center Christian Koloko, Baylor wing Kendall Brown and Arkansas forward Jaylin Williams.
Getting a young, controllable player in the second round of the draft is important for the Lakers since they don’t have many players under contract for next season.
According to Spotrac, as many as seven players will be under contract for the Lakers in 2022-23, but it could be as few as five if they decline the club options on Stanley Johnson and Austin Reaves.
The core trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook figure to be back next season, along with Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn.
THE. went a disappointing 33-49 last season and missed the playoffs just two years after winning a championship, but if LeBron and AD can stay healthy, and new head coach Darvin Ham meshes well with the team, the Lakers have a chance to be much better next season.