According to a report from former ESPN columnist, Grantland creator and current CEO of The Ringer Bill Simmmons, murmurs are bustling around the league that the Lakers and Suns are trying to work out a trade to swap the No. 2 and No. 4 pick in the draft.
Simmons says that he heard that the Suns and Lakers are discussing a deal where the Lakers would trade the No. 2 pick and Luol Deng (and his $18 million contract for three more years) to the Suns for the No. 4 pick.
This deal actually makes a lot of sense for both teams when you consider what they desire as an organization in this draft and moving forward.
There are many draft rumors swirling (believe what you will) that the Lakers are leaning toward selecting Josh Jackson from Kansas at No. 2 and there have been murmurs for months that the Suns have been eyeing Lonzo Ball (despite the fact that Jackson is the far better fit for them). So if the Lakers can get assurance that the Suns would take Ball and that the 76ers would take a point guard like DeAaron Fox or trade the pick to the Kings, then they can essentially get their guy at No. 4 and deal an albatross of a contract in Luol Deng’s $18 million a season to create more cap space and attract big time free agents in the next few years.
The Suns meanwhile get the player they have been pining and probably tanked so hard for despite their bad luck in the lottery in Lonzo Ball and as a team near the cap floor, are able and not hampered by acquiring Deng’s contract and his veteran leadership for a few seasons.
The trade actually makes sense for both sides in the scenario outlined above, now whether the rumor holds any actual weight (like any rumor at this time) is another question.
Part of me still feels like Magic can’t pass up on an elite table setter like Lonzo Ball and takes him at No. 2 and the Suns hope for Jackson to be available at No. 4, but take Jonathan Isaac out of Florida State at No. 4 if Jackson is drafted at No. 3.
Welcome to the height of NBA Draft season! You can expect there to be a few fireworks and trades in this year’s edition.