News that the Lakers would be among the teams interested in backup point guard Darren Collison should he come out of retirement in the next month or so comes as little surprise. The Lakers entered the season with a patchwork at point guard—LeBron James getting the bulk of the minutes with 33-year-old Rajon Rondo pitching in along with combo guards Alex Caruso and Avery Bradley. Quinn Cook has been effectively removed from the rotation.
But league sources tell Heavy.com that the Lakers are not limiting themselves to a pursuit of Collison when it comes to finding depth at point guard—though, a source said that the Lakers would be the frontrunner for his services.
“There’s not a lot they can do with the assets that they have,” one league executive told Heavy.com. “Whatever they can pull together, they’re going to try to get help at the point guard spot.”
The Lakers have inquired about a number of potential veteran backup point guards and one potential target could come onto the trade market in the coming weeks: Orlando guard D.J. Augustin. The Lakers can’t trade a second-round pick until 2023, but the team does have rookie Talen Horton-Tucker, originally drafted by Orlando before he was traded to the Lakers, on hand.
Isaac Injury Could Lead to Augustin Trade
The Magic got a difficult injury blow this week when third-year forward Jonathan Isaac was diagnosed with a severe knee sprain that will keep him out for at least two months. Isaac was a key player for Orlando defensively and was averaging 12.0 points and 6.9 assists.
The Magic are 15-19 and have a difficult Western Conference road trip ahead from January 10-20. By the end of that trip, Orlando will have a better grasp on whether to forge ahead with a run at the playoffs or sell off veteran pieces like Augustin for whatever assets can be had.
Augustin is in the final year of a deal that pays him $7.2 million. His role with the Magic has been reduced as Markelle Fultz has taken over the job as the starter, but he still averages 10.7 points and 4.8 assists. His 3-point shot has been off this season (33.9 percent) but he is a career 38.0 percent 3-point shooter with four playoff stints—including a run to the East finals with Indiana in 2013—on his resume.
Point Guard Help is Lakers’ Top Need
The Lakers have a number of holes to fill, including a versatile wing defender and more 3-point shooting. But James has had to carry too much of a burden at the point guard spot and the team is adamant about getting help at the position.
The Lakers get 38.4 points per game from players categorized as guards, according the NBA (James counts as a forward), and that ranks 29th in the league. They get 10.1 assists per game from their guards, which is last in the league.
Collison might be the team’s best option, given that he averaged 11.2 points last year and has been a 42.4 percent 3-point shooter in his last four NBA seasons. But the Lakers are not necessarily waiting to see what happens with Collison—there’s a chance, after all, he will scotch his comeback or sign elsewhere.
A veteran like Augustin is very much on the team’s radar.