The Los Angeles Lakers did it. They found a way to add a spot for another max-contract player by dealing away three of their remaining youngsters to create the cap room.
It also helped that the recently-acquired Anthony Davis waived his $4 million trade kicker, something that didn’t seem to be in the cards less than a week ago.
With free agency set to start in a couple days, Los Angeles has now put itself in position to form a super team. Is that what general manager Rob Pelinka and Co. should do?
We look at the possibilities here.
Kawhi Leonard: Just imagine this.
- If Los Angeles were to be able to add the reigning NBA Finals MVP to go with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, it would shock the NBA world.
- The Lakers are slated to meet with Leonard at the onset of free agency.
- Acquiring a max-contract spot is only going to help this team lure the Southern California native back home.
Kevin Durant: It’s complicated.
- Durant will miss the entire 2019-20 season after suffering a torn Achilles in the NBA Finals.
- Would King James want to throw away another season in the latter stages of his prime?
- Giving KD the max contract would hurt Los Angeles short term. It would also be a major risk.
D’Angelo Russell: It’s more likely now.
- We’re not 100 percent sure the type of restricted free-agent market Russell will find. Though, he could be looking at a max deal.
- Los Angeles is apparently interested in Russell with a meeting set to take place here soon.
- The idea would be to add a young All-Star with the aging King James and a player in Davis who is in his prime.
Kyrie Irving: Stranger things have happened.
- Nothing is etched in stone until it’s signed on the dotted line. Sure Irving seems destined for Brooklyn, but things could change.
- If so, the Lakers make a lot of sense. It was previously reported that Irving was open to reuniting with LeBron in Southern California.
- Even with a drama-filled 2018-19 season behind him, Irving is a much better on-court option than Russell.
Add depth: This still remains the best outcome.
- Los Angeles now seems likely to covet a max-contract player. But that might not be in the best interest of the team.
- The Lakers could go out there and add three players at $10-plus million annually.
- Is a max player better than the combination of say Patrick Beverley, DeMarcus Cousins and a mid-tier two guard? We’re not too sure.
What we do know is that a much-maligned Lakers front office pulled off a coup Thursday. It now has an opportunity to go a number of different directions.
Sure the lure of Kawhi Leonard is there. But the idea of adding to a core group of Davis and James might make more sense.
We’ll find out soon enough what’s going to happen in Hollywood. Get your popcorn ready, ladies and germs.