Every NBA trade deadline has buyers along with sellers, and the Los Angeles Lakers hope to be the former but their current roster makes a major deal challenging. The Magic would share the best lottery odds for the No. 1 pick if the season ended today and are likely going to be sellers at the NBA trade deadline.
NBA insider Marc Stein pointed out that while Lakers fans are holding out hope for a blockbuster deal, general manager Rob Pelinka could look to the Magic as a potential trade partner for something smaller. Terrence Ross has seemingly forever been linked to the Lakers, but Gary Harris is another name to watch as a potential option for L.A.
“I passed along this update via Twitter on Sunday night purely because Orlando’s Terrence Ross and Gary Harris are names to monitor whenever they pop up these days,” Stein detailed on January 24. “The Magic are widely expected to trade one or both before the Feb. 10 trade deadline depending on the level of draft capital they can get in return.
“Some teams regard Ross as a natural target for the Lakers or the Jazz — both known to be seeking a defensive-minded wing player but possessing limited trade assets to make an impact trade in the next 17 days.”
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The Lakers Could Explore a Deal for Harris, Says Insider
The Lakers’ most appealing assets to offer the Magic or another team in a trade are Talen Horton-Tucker and their 2027 first-round pick. ESPN’s Bobby Marks, who is a former Nets executive, threw out a possible Horton-Tucker package for Harris.
“But does [Kendrick] Nunn, Horton-Tucker and three seconds for Gary Harris make sense if you’re Orlando? Like maybe,” Marks noted during the January 27 episode of The Lowe Post podcast.
The Magic could also be looking to move on from center Mo Bamba who is set to be a restricted free agent this offseason. The Lakers current rotation of big men has been underwhelming so far this season, but the jury is still out on whether Bamba can play a consistent role on a playoff team.
Will the Lakers be Willing to Deal T.H.T. for Harris or Ross?
Ross is averaging 11.3 points and 2.7 rebounds while shooting 31.4% from long range in 24.8 minutes per game this season. The Magic wing will be a free agent in 2023 and has a $12.5 million salary this season.
Harris has been a more consistent shooter for the Magic and is averaging 11.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists while shooting 38.2% from behind the arc in 29.6 minutes per game. Harris is on an expiring contract but comes with a more expensive salary of $20.4 million which would come off the books this offseason.
Do either of these players move the needle enough for the Lakers to give up on Horton-Tucker’s future upside? We are just one trade deadline removed from the Lakers being unwilling to trade Horton-Tucker in a deal that would have landed star guard Kyle Lowry.