The Los Angeles Lakers may be focusing on upgrading their point guard rotation ahead of the February trade deadline, as the team is reportedly monitoring a number of veteran players at the position, including D.J. Augustin of the Orlando Magic.
As explained earlier in the week by Heavy‘s Sean Deveney, the Lakers kicked off the 2019-20 season with a “patchwork” point guard rotation featuring two returning players — Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso — and free-agent acquisition Quinn Cook, but ended up mainly relying on LeBron James for playmaking duties. Given their apparent shortcomings at the point, the team had recently been linked to Darren Collison, who is reportedly considering a comeback after retiring last summer. But even with the Lakers considered as the top favorite to sign Collison, Deveney noted that the organization is not limiting its options to the former Indiana Pacers star.
According to Deveney, the Lakers have made inquiries about multiple veteran point guards, though Augustin has stood out as someone who might be available in the weeks leading up to next month’s trade deadline. While the Magic are at eighth place in the Eastern Conference with a 16-20 record, the longtime NBA insider cautioned that forward Jonathan Isaac is expected to miss at least two months with a knee injury, thus leaving Orlando without one of its top frontcourt defenders. Furthermore, the Magic will be facing tough Western Conference competition during a “difficult” road trip from January 10 to 20.
“By the end of that trip, Orlando will have a better grasp on whether to forge ahead with a run at the playoffs or sell off veteran pieces like Augustin for whatever assets can be had,” Deveney wrote.
— NBA (@NBA) April 14, 2019
If the Lakers end up trading for Augustin, the team might not have many assets to offer aside from rookie wingman Talen Horton-Tucker, who was originally drafted by Orlando last year before getting shipped to Los Angeles. However, the 32-year-old Magic guard is on the final year of a comparatively affordable contract, one that will pay him $7.2 million this season as a backup to former No. 1 overall draft pick Markelle Fultz.
With Augustin still putting up decent averages of 10.7 points and 4.8 assists in his reserve role, Deveney stressed that he’s one veteran that is “very much” on the Lakers’ radar, given the possibility that Collison might choose to sign elsewhere or put his comeback plans on hold.
Aside from Augustin and Collison, a few other names have been mentioned in recent Lakers trade rumors, especially with their other perceived weaknesses in mind. These include Miami Heat guard Dion Waiters, who was suggested late last month by former NBA center Kendrick Perkins as someone who could provide a much-needed boost on offense alongside superstars James and Anthony Davis.