Lakers Draft News: Magic Johnson 'is in love with Markelle Fultz,' may trade up to No. 1

By @saihoops on
Magic Johnson
Former NBA basketball player Earvin Magic Johnson poses at the premiere of the movie "The Legend of Tarzan" in Hollywood, California. Reuters/ Danny Moloshok

Los Angeles Lakers president Magic Johnson is reportedly "in love with Markelle Fultz" and will try to move up to the No. 1 slot ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. The Lakers currently own the No. 2 pick in a deep draft class that many scouts are calling the best since 2003.

Fultz is the consensus No. 1 pick in this year's draft despite facing stiff competition from the likes of Lonzo Ball and Josh Jackson. Until recently, it was a foregone conclusion that the Lakers would select Ball with the No. 2 overall pick. However, the Lakers were reportedly torn between Jackson and Ball before working out Fultz on Thursday. 

According to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, "Word out of LA is Markelle Fultz 'murdered' his Lakers workout (on Thursday). (He) may be 'the best one' (draft prospect) they've seen. Sadly, likely all for naught."

Lakers Trade News: No. 2 pick and Julius Randle for No. 1 pick?

Givony further tweeted that "Multiple sources have told me that Magic 'is in love' with Fultz. May try to move up to #1, possibly with a Julius Randle + #2 pick offer."

Randle, along with third-year guard Jordan Clarkson, has been rumoured to be the Lakers' most expendable asset in trade situations. The former Kentucky forward is a restricted free agent next summer and the Lakers front office isn't sold on Randle as the team's permanent solution at the Power Forward position. 

In related news, The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers are engaged in advanced talks to swap their first-round picks. While the Celtics own the No. 1 overall pick, the Sixers will select No. 3 next Thursday. The potential trade could also involve the Chicago Bulls with all-star wing Jimmy Butler going to Boston. 

Meanwhile, ESPN's Chad Ford reported a day earlier that the Lakers have held internal discussions about potentially swapping first-round picks with the Phoenix Suns, who will select No. 4 in the highly-touted draft class. In such a scenario, the Lakers would have to hope that either Lonzo Ball or Josh Jackson, the two players they most covet, will still be available at No. 4.

"The Lakers believe that Ball or Jackson might be available at the No. 4 spot. If not, the Lakers are still very high on Fox and Tatum, and believe that securing an additional prospect might be worth dropping two spots in the draft," Ford wrote in his insider article published Thursday.

If the Los Angeles Lakers hold onto their No. 2 pick, all signs point to them drafting either Josh Jackson or Lonzo Ball. The 2017 NBA draft will be held on June 22, 2017, at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The Lakers will also select No. 28, a pick they received as part of the Lou Williams trade earlier this year. Stay tuned for latest Lakers trade news and other reports surrounding the 2017 NBA Draft.