The Los Angeles Lakers recently reached an agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers to complete what was considered as the biggest deadline day trade this year. The Lakers sent young stars Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cavs in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and Cleveland’s own first-round draft pick, which could potentially change the course of the season for the two popular ballclubs.
As a result, the Cavaliers made their roster younger and more energetic while the Lakers successfully created enough salary cap room to sign two max players this summer. It was indeed a win-win deal, according to FanSided’s King James Gospel.
While reports went out that the Lakers are planning to adjust their focus on the 2019 free-agency period, some analysts still believe that they may push through with their original plan of signing their desired superstars this July.
According to rumors, the Lakers’ top targets are any of the following three big names: Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, and LeBron James.
L.A. Sports Hub’s Jason Reed suggested three ways on how the team can maximize the possible $69 million salary cap space they will have this summer. The first option is signing George and Cousins to multi-year deals while retaining Julius Randle via a three-year, $24 million pact. The second one is to acquire LeBron James, DeAndre Jordan, and Shabazz Napier while also keeping Randle for a similar deal.
However, the third option is perhaps the most realistic of the three as Reed projected that the Lakers might completely delay the process of targeting superstar free agents by one more season, as recent reports have suggested.
According to Reed, the Lakers might just settle for signing the Dallas Mavericks’ duo of Wesley Matthews and Nerlens Noel, Denver Nuggets point guard Devin Harris, and free agent center Willie Reed, while re-signing Randle in the same proposed three-year contract.
The focal point of this haul is clearly the two Mavs players, with one of them already rumored to be on the Lakers’ radar since the beginning of the season.
There were rumors early in the season that a Randle-Noel swap could happen before the deadline. But as it turned out, Los Angeles may have counted on Noel’s potential availability in the upcoming free-agency market, which is an option that would allow them to keep both Kentucky alums moving forward.
Noel is set to become an unrestricted free agent upon completion of his current one-year deal, while Matthews has a player option at the end of the season.
Slam Online reported that Dallas was dangling Matthews for a first-round draft pick before the trade deadline, but no team took the bait. The nine-year veteran has been playing decently this year, averaging 12.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 34.2 minutes per game as the Mavericks’ starting shooting guard.
While the former Marquette standout had clearly slowed down since his Achilles injury almost three years ago, Matthews is still considered as one of the NBA’s above average two-way players, who the Lakers can utilize before going into their expected big summer of 2019.