Los Angeles Lakers rumors indicate the team may be moving on from LeBron James. It’s an interesting piece of information from current NBA trade rumors, as the team has started to realize that they aren’t close to competing. Rather than pursue James during the 2018 NBA offseason, the franchise is going to plan for the pursuit of free agents during the 2019 NBA offseason.
A report by NBA analyst Adrian Wojnarowski explains that the pursuit of LeBron James could be placed on hold due to several other components of the upcoming free agency period. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Paul George has been hinting that he will remain with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Then, there is the news that DeMarcus Cousins could be out for a year with his injury. This takes George and Cousins out of the running to join the Lakers, weakening what the franchise might be able to accomplish in free agency.
These L.A. Lakers rumors could shift a lot of things on the NBA landscape. If the Lakers aren’t going to be competitive yet for the 2018-19 NBA season, then LeBron James likely won’t seriously consider a move to the franchise. That opens the door to remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers, likely affecting every other team in the Eastern Conference as well. Could this be what Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and LeBron James needed in order to get serious about a long-term contract that could include ownership perks?
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) February 6, 2018
The 2019 NBA free agency will include players like Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler. It could also include Paul George and LeBron James, should either player sign a one-year deal or get a player option that allows them to opt out following the 2018-19 NBA season. Landing two of those players would also become easier if the current core of Lakers players had a bit more time to develop.
If these new L.A. Lakers rumors are true, then it would give Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Josh Hart another year of development. That could be a huge deal for the franchise, even if it means some more short-term growing pains. Adding a star player (or two) to an established core would be much easier for the franchise as it heads into the 2019-20 NBA season.
If LeBron James still shows an interest in joining the L.A. Lakers, despite no other stars signing with the team during this next offseason, the franchise would likely still entertain contract negotiations. Even courting James would create additional positive buzz for the franchise. If the Cleveland Cavaliers trade for another star player to join James, all of the conjecture may become a non-issue anyway. Now, the short-term question becomes, will an L.A. Lakers trade take place before the NBA trade deadline on February 8?