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Lakers trade into draft, get No. 35 from Magic

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Published in Basketball
Thursday, 23 June 2022 12:47

The Los Angeles Lakers have traded into Thursday night's NBA draft, acquiring the Orlando Magic's No. 35 for a future second-round pick and cash.

Orlando will receive the better of either the Lakers' or Washington's second-round pick (which is owed to Los Angeles) in 2028, the Magic announced.

The deal allows the Lakers to buy their way back into the draft after trading away both of its own picks. Los Angeles' eighth overall pick belongs to New Orleans as part of the Pelicans' mammoth haul from the trade of Anthony Davis, while the Lakers' second-round pick was moved in that same multiteam deal to Washington before eventually ending up with San Antonio.

Orlando still holds the first and 32nd overall selections in Thursday's draft.

The Lakers' perpetual win-now mentality around LeBron James has left them without control of their own first-round pick for the fourth consecutive season, but their acquisition of this high-second-round pick will allow their strong scouting department to make a contribution to that quest.

The franchise has a solid record of drafting good players and signing quality undrafted talent over the past decade despite meager draft resources. The Lakers have picked up Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Svi Mykhailiuk and Austin Reaves from the lower reaches of the draft pools over the past six years.

Los Angeles is in need of low-cost roster depth after finishing 33-49 and missing the play-in tournament this year. If Russell Westbrook exercises his $47 million player option, the Lakers will be above the salary cap from their commitments to James, Davis and Westbrook alone.

In another move, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the No. 49 pick from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the rights to Sasha Vezenkov, it was announced.

Vezenkov, 26, was a first-team All-EuroLeague forward this season. He was the 57th pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

The Cavaliers now have four picks in Thursday night's draft: Nos. 14, 39, 49 and 56.

After winning just 22 games in 2020-21, the Cavs went 44-38 last season under coach J.B. Bickerstaff and barely missed the playoffs. They made the play-in tournament but lost to Brooklyn and Atlanta. This year is the first time the Cavs haven't drafted in the top five since 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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