Los Angeles Lakers Free Agency Preview

Practical Max Cap Space: $61.8 Million

Good Contracts:

Lonzo Ball- $27.1 Million through 2021

Brandon Ingram- $13 Million through 2020

Kyle Kuzma- $7.2 Million through 2021

Bad Contracts:

Luol Deng- $36.8 Million through 2020

Biggest Need:

Star Power

Key Free Agents:

Julius Randle

Isaiah Thomas

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Brook Lopez

Best Free Agent Target:

LeBron James/Paul George

Overview:

The Los Angeles Lakers are without a doubt the most star-studded franchise in the NBA, and even in American professional sports. It is a team that even non-basketball fans may recognize due it’s relevance in pop culture and sports. Guys like Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal among many others have donned the purple and gold. And there is a great chance that more great names could be added to this list. The rumors connecting LeBron James and the Lakers have been laid out since at least last summer, but the connections are pretty obvious. His admiration for Magic and desire to reach mogul status have been well documented over the years and this seems like the best chance for James to learn from him. Los Angeles is also a prime location that James already owns multiple houses in, making it an easy transition for him and his family to make. Now, it is yet to be determined whether James will leave Cleveland at all. He can continue to be the city’s pride and joy, which is what helped bring him back there in 2014. As the season continues to wind down and free agency comes closer, we should all have a clearer idea of whether James will stay or go; but if he should choose to depart the Lakers would be a prime spot for him. If they somehow can’t land the big fish in James, they should still be able to eat fairly well. Los Angeles should be able to bring in other big names free agents like Paul George or potentially DeMarcus Cousins. I think George is almost certain to go there as he has hinted (subtly and not-so-subtly) he has some interest in being a Laker. Fortunately for them they have the space to sign multiple max level players this offseason, especially if they could find a way to move Luol Deng’s contract. It is very realistic that the Lakers could sign James, George and still have money left over to swing one or two more solid players. The best part for Los Angeles, however is they can still have a successful offseason if all of this falls through. If James and George decide to not come to the west coast and strike out on other big name guys, they still have a solid young core in Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Julius Randle. If all else fails they can just run this core again and try once more in the 2019 offseason. Sure, the fans and NBA media would be disappointed in this outcome but the Lakers may be better off for it. Either way, this is a huge offseason for Los Angeles. They have a very real shot at landing the best player in the league and have the space/assets to make the next great super team. The Lakers may have spent the last five years outside of the postseason, but it seems like next year may be the one where they come back as the premier ticket in Los Angeles.

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