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Thursday's NBA: Lakers get in draft, acquire 35th pick in trade with Orlando

Los Angeles — The Los Angeles Lakers will get to participate in the NBA draft after acquiring the 35th overall pick from the Orlando Magic on Thursday for cash and a future second-round selection.

The Magic will get either the Lakers' second-round pick or Washington's second-round pick, which is controlled by the Lakers, in the 2028 draft.

The deal allows the Lakers to buy their way back into the current draft after the club traded away both of its 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 multi-team 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.

Cavaliers add second-round pick, acquire No. 49 from Kings

Cleveland — The Cavaliers made their first move before the NBA draft tipped off.

Adding another asset to perhaps use to bolster its roster, Cleveland acquired the No. 49 selection from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for the rights to forward Sasha Vezenkov and $1.75 million.

The deal, which was finalized hours ahead Thursday's draft, gives the Cavs four picks — No. 14 and three second-rounders, Nos. 39, 49 and 56.

An extra second-round pick gives the Cavs' front office another asset to potentially jump up into the late part of the first round. Cleveland's in the market for another wing player to supplement one of the league's best young rosters.

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 5 since 2018.

Vezenkov was acquired in 2021 from Brooklyn as part of the three-team trade that brought All-Star center Jarrett Allen to Cleveland. The Nets drafted Vezenkov with the 57th pick in 2017.