February 15, 2021
NBA Rumors: Lakers Could Target Mo Bamba As Surprise Trade Deadline Acquisition, Per 'Bleacher Report'

While the Los Angeles Lakers have been linked in trade rumors and ideas to several big names ahead of the March 25 deadline, a recent article suggested that the team might be better off pursuing a "surprise" target such as Orlando Magic center Mo Bamba.

As explained on Monday by Bleacher Report's Zach Buckley, the Lakers are at a point where they likely "feel good enough" about their core players, given they are second in the Western Conference and among the NBA's most efficient teams. However, it's also possible they might try to catch "lightning in a bottle" by trading for Bamba, who has yet to live up to the lofty expectations he had as a lottery pick out of the University of Texas.

"It wasn't supposed to take this long for 2018's No. 6 pick, but his stalled career could spark an interesting nature vs. nurture debate. Of all the places Bamba could've landed, Disney's capital might've been the worst. Since his arrival, he's been trapped behind both Nikola Vucevic and Khem Birch, and Orlando's long-term future at the 5 could be in the hands of Jonathan Isaac."
According to Buckley, Los Angeles should ideally make a move for Bamba if the Magic make him available at a low price. While the 22-year-old big man might not have much of a role on a Lakers team that has Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell in the middle, the potential is still there for him to emerge as a key component of upcoming championship runs. As further noted, the Lakers will likely need more young players such as Bamba to build for the future if they want to start a new dynasty.

Mo Bamba of the Orlando Magic blocks Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins' shot.
Getty Images | Kevin C. Cox

Per his Basketball-Reference page, Bamba has only started one game in his three-year NBA career and is presently averaging just 4.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 8.6 minutes per game. While he has improved his shooting accuracy from 46.2 percent from the field in 2019-20 to 52 percent this season, his playing time has steadily declined since his rookie campaign, where he averaged 16.3 minutes per contest. He is, however, still an "intriguing" prospect, as Buckley noted that he has a seven-foot-ten-inch wingspan and solid per-36-minutes numbers of 14.2 rebounds, 11.9 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, and 1.3 three-point shots made.

Aside from Bamba, there have been other young big men mentioned as possible pre-deadline acquisitions for Los Angeles. These include John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks, as it was recommended in a recent trade idea that the Lakers could get him for a package centered on Harrell.