The Lakers may not hold onto their first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Los Angeles is “active in trade talks and would be open to” dealing the No. 4 selection in exchange for “an established veteran who would be more ready” to help it win games, according to a report from ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka acknowledged the team would explore moving the pick after the lottery last month.
“This is a powerful asset for us,” Pelinka told reporters. “Our focus right now is going to be on doing all we can to have an incredibly successful year next year.
“But now it shifts, what we can get at four. I will tell you there are some incredibly talented, impact players there that we’re going to study deeply. And then, of course, we’ll canvas the league and see what value that pick has. But either of those options is an extraordinary win for the franchise.”
The Lakers reportedly made multiple offers to the Pelicans for forward Anthony Davis — who asked New Orleans to move him — before the deadline but ultimately no deal was reached. Los Angeles is expected to make another run at acquiring the star this offseason and could include the No. 4 pick in a potential trade.
Los Angeles is hoping to have a busy summer as it wants to add a second star next to LeBron James. In addition to its pursuit of Davis, the team is reportedly interested in Kemba Walker. Kyrie Irving has also become “more open” to signing with the Lakers, according to an earlier report from ESPN.
“I think if people take a look at where this franchise is right now, we have a high draft pick, we have a great young core, maybe one of the best in the league,” Pelinka told reporters in late May, via ESPN. “We have a superstar on our team, and an open slot. So, I think people can look at this as an opportunity to win a championship possibly next year.”
The Lakers finished 2018-19 with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season.