Entering last season, the Lakers were the overwhelming leader in one dubious NBA category. At 30.0 years old, the Lakers had the oldest roster in the league, ahead of the 28.3 years averaged by the Brooklyn Nets. They are not in much of a position to change that here in the offseason, either, because the team will go into the NBA draft without a pick in either the first or second round.
The Lakers are sending this year’s top pick, No. 8 overall, to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade from 2019. The second-rounder is going to San Antonio, also as part of the Davis trade.
The Lakers, though, might not be shut out of the draft altogether. They are expected to explore buying their way into the second round on draft night, hoping to pluck a young player who can be developed on the team’s bench.
“They can see the writing on the wall, they need young players,” one league source told Heavy.com. “They’re often one of the teams looking to buy a second-round pick when they have a guy they like, as they did with Talen Horton-Tucker. It’s a safe bet that they will look to buy a second-rounder this year, send out cash and a future pick, as they’re looking to get younger however possible.”
In 2019, the Lakers paid $2.2 million to the Magic for the rights to Horton-Tucker, and sent a 2020 second-rounder in the deal.
Several Teams Have Multiple Picks in 2022 Draft
The Lakers could find a few teams willing to deal away picks, including the Pelicans themselves. New Orleans has three second-round picks and that No. 8 overall pick, but has 14 players under contract. Adding four rookies is not likely for a team looking to get itself into the playoffs.
Minnesota also has three second-round picks, plus a first-rounder, though the Wolves have more roster room on hand. The Timberwolves made a return to the postseason this year and are looking to build on that success and, even with new team president Tim Connelly’s past success in the draft, they might be willing to dump a pick.
The Lakers have been conducting workouts for potential draftees for more than a week now, and, for the most part, the players they’ve been looking at are not likely to be drafted. L.A. had some success with an undrafted player last season, as Austin Reaves played well enough to earn a full contract and even got significant playing time, racking up a triple-double (31 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists) in the Lakers’ season finale against Denver.
Lakers Working Out Older, Polished Players
The Lakers are clearly looking for polished collegiate players—mostly seniors—whether they can get into the second round to pick them or sign them as undrafted free agents.
The top players the Lakers have looked at so far include Jemaree Bouyea, a 6-foot-2 guard from San Francisco who is a fifth-year senior and already 23 years old. They’ve also had versatile UConn wing Tyrese Martin in, another 23-year-old senior. Keon Ellis (22-year-old senior) from Alabama, Trevion Williams (21-year-old senior) from Purdue, and Quenton Jackson (23-year-old fifth-year senior) from Texas A&M have also auditioned for the Lakers’ brass.