Desperate for cost-controlled assets that can help them free up the necessary cap space in order to sign a max free agent, the Lakers made a splash and moved back into the 2019 NBA Draft. Trading back into the second round, the Lakers parted with a future pick and cash considerations in order to grab the rights to the 46th pick.
Lakers NBA Draft Trade: LA Strikes Deal With Magic To Land Second Round Pick
Able to hold the draft rights until after free agency, the Lakers were able to pick up a future piece that doesn’t count against their salary cap as they look to bring on another max free agent during free agency.
The Lakers used the pick on Talen Horton-Tucker. It was an interesting pick considering the Lakers are more in need of a point guard and big man, they instead went for the undersized wing with explosive athleticism. Horton-Tucker certainly has the potential to develop into a solid rotational piece moving forward but may need to be stashed low on the roster for a year or two in order to turn into a regular weapon.
There is also a good chance this pick winds up on the move again in order to entice a team into taking on the contract of a player like Moritz Wagner or Isaac Bonga, unproven draft picks who spent the majority of their time in the G-League last season. Moving those contracts would help to free up the necessary cap space in order to go hunting for one of the top free agents available on the market in order to create a “big three”.
Does it Makes Sense For the Lakers to Trade Up for Another Draft Pick?
At this point, absolutely yes. While the amount of money sent for the 46th pick wasn’t disclosed, they could still have enough money to buy a later pick or possibly flip one of their existing contracts for another late second round option.
As mentioned above, second round picks won’t count towards the cap at the start of free agency, enabling the Lakers to maximize their cap space while having young assets at the bottom of the roster on cheap deals that they can potentially develop into serviceable players. Given the Lakers desire to free up as much cap space as possible, stocking up on warm bodies in the second round makes a ton of sense.