Despite winning their last two games in convincing fashion, many believe that the Los Angeles Lakers are still not an ideal landing spot for any of the top free agents the team is rumored to be targeting in the summer. Right now, they are still second-from-last-place in the West with a 13-27 slate, just a half-game ahead of bottom-dwelling Memphis Grizzlies.
Reports abound that the Lakers are trying to free up as much cap space as they can to accommodate two max players when this year’s free-agency period arrives. As a result, three of their young players, namely Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Larry Nance Jr. were placed on the trading block, per Lakers Nation.
Should the Lakers succeed in dealing the three, then the team will be left with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram as their only potential future stars.
Upcoming unrestricted free agents such as LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins have been linked to the Hollywood franchise in the past few months, and many analysts believe that the Lakers will surely make a pitch on each one when the time comes.
However, it is unclear how Magic Johnson and company would be able to convince any of the three superstars to switch sides because of the way the Lakers have performed so far this season and also the kind of roster the team will have once they join in.
Metro USA’s Matt Burke believed that the Lakers should trade for a “proven, veteran All-Star” in order to at least make James look their way. He also said that right now, LeBron is more likely to “re-sign in Cleveland or jump to the Houston Rockets” rather than join a struggling and inexperienced Lakers side.
Burke said that getting Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker “would be the best bet” to persuade James or any other free agent to join them this summer. He noted that Walker’s game is similar to LeBron’s former tag-team partner Kyrie Irving and that the 27-year-old’s salary is quite affordable at $12 million a season.
However, the Lakers might have to trade two of their most-coveted young players, Ball and Ingram, in order to acquire Walker, said Burke.
A recent Inquisitr article reported that the Lakers could trade Ball soon in order to “get rid of distraction” coming from his father, LaVar. The report said, citing Los Angeles Times’ Bill Plaschke, that while Ball is a “good player,” he is not a “transformative one.”
— ESPN (@espn) January 7, 2018
Kuzma, who currently leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per game, is even considered as the best rookie in the Lakers roster while Ingram is said to be the franchise’s “future cornerstone,” not Ball.
Ball has indeed drawn even more media attention to the Lakers, but it seems like only time will tell how long the big-market franchise could hold on to him and the distractions his family, particularly his father, has been creating.