Could Lakers’ reported interest in Josh Jackson lead to Lonzo Ball in PHX?
The NBA Draft is one week away.
The Phoenix Suns currently have the fourth overall pick, but if any of the rumors are true, the top five of this year’s festivities could have different participants than what is slated right now.
The Sacramento Kings reportedly covet Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, and could be itching to trade with the Suns to ensure they get him. The Kings have No. 5, but according to reports, believe the Suns could take the point guard if Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball are the top three picks, in any order.
Then there’s this rumor from The Ringer and The Bill Simmons Podcast, in which a deal between the Lakers, who own the second overall pick, and the Suns, which could mean Lonzo Ball ending up in purple and orange.
Take the Lakers, for example. There’s been noise in NBA circles this month that they have significant interest in Kansas forward Josh Jackson. On The Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill and I discussed the NBA scuttlebutt that the Lakers are looking to swap positions with the Suns: The deal would move L.A. down from no. 2 to no. 4; Phoenix’s cost of doing business involves eating Luol Deng’s albatross contract. It’s hard to trust what you hear from teams this time of year, but it does line up with reports that Jackson had canceled workouts with the Celtics and had a second workout with the Lakers on Tuesday. In theory, it makes sense. Lonzo Ball, whom the Suns could draft second, is an absolutely perfect fit next to sharpshooting 2-guard Devin Booker. On the flip side, Jackson would help complete the Lakers’ core while they start clearing cap space to make a push for Paul George and possibly LeBron James the following summer.
Ball has been linked to the Lakers for quite some time, but in recent weeks several reports out of Los Angeles have intimated that L.A. brass wasn’t totally enamored with the former UCLA point guard.
ESPN’s Chad Ford also reported Thursday that the Lakers discussed a trade-back involving the Suns.
The Lakers held internal discussions about trading back two spots to No. 4 if the Suns were to offer them a 2018 first-round pick. The Suns hold their own 2018 pick (which currently projects to be a high lottery pick) as well as the rights to the Miami Heat‘s 2018 pick. The latter pick is top-seven-protected in 2018 but unprotected in 2019.
Meanwhile, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough figures to be a busy man leading up to the June 22 draft, potentially fielding calls from numerous teams as they jockey for position in what some describe as the best draft since 2003.