Lakers Linked to Trade for $29 Million Former Top-5 Pick

LeBron James

Getty The Los Angeles Lakers could target a trade for Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs.

The Los Angeles Lakers are attempting to add pieces this offseason that can help return the franchise to the NBA finals. One name to watch is the Magic’s Jalen Suggs as Orlando now has a glut of guards on their roster following the selection of Anthony Black with the No. 6 pick. According to KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, the Lakers are “one team with interest” in acquiring Suggs if the Magic explore trades for the former No. 5 pick of the 2021 NBA draft.

“One of many storylines I’ll be following tonight: If Orlando goes guard at 6, do they then move former Minnehaha Academy standout Jalen Suggs? Buzz = Lakers one team with interest,” Wolfson tweeted on June 22, 2023. “Just turned 22, best ball ahead of him, already great defender.”

Suggs has yet to display the kind of consistency that is expected from a top-five pick. The challenge for the former Gonzaga star guard has been his struggle to remain healthy.

Suggs has already missed 63 games during his first two NBA seasons. During these first two seasons, the Magic guard averaged 10.8 points, 3.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting a disappointing 27.1% from long range.

Lakers Rumors: Does LA Have Enough Assets to Strike a Trade for Magic Guard Jalen Suggs?

The challenge is the Lakers may not have the necessary assets needed to make a strong offer to the Magic. Suggs still has two seasons remaining on a four-year, $29.9 million rookie contract and is slated to have a $7.2 million salary for the 2023-24 season.

Suggs’ shooting continues to be a work in progress but the guard jumped up to 32.7% from long range in 2022-23 compared to 21.4% his rookie season. The Orlando guard has displayed the potential to be an elite NBA defender.

“I absolutely love Jalen Suggs, and while I tend not to think long-term with the Lakers, he makes a lot of sense next to Austin Reaves,” CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn tweeted on June 22. “His offense would have to improve for him to have a big role next season, but I’d like this addition a lot if they kept DLo [D’Angelo Russell].”

The Los Angeles Lakers Are Aiming to ‘Put a Championship-Level Product on the Court’

The Lakers are expected to focus on re-signing their own key free agents this offseason including Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura. Los Angeles general manager Rob Pelinka emphasized the team is focused on constructing a “championship-level product.”

“The end goal is for us to put a championship-level product on the court … Sometimes you can’t make all of your moves in one fell swoop but we’re really excited about how the draft panned out,” Pelinka noted on June 23, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

As for Suggs, some of the Lakers’ appealing assets that the team could dangle include recently drafted Jalen Hood-Schifino, Max Christie and future draft picks. Suggs just turned 22 years old and still possesses plenty of upside which is why the Magic are unlikely eager to deal the guard.

Cole Anthony is a player that makes more sense for Orlando to explore potential trades. Anthony is heading into the final season of a rookie contract and his steady production may make his trade value a bit higher than Suggs given his injury woes.

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