Rumors continue to abound that the Los Angeles Lakers would look to sign LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins in free agency this summer. However, according to Hoops Habit‘s Gil Alcaraz IV, only the latter two would find their way to La La Land next season.
While James remains to be the top name every team would want to have on their roster, Alcaraz believes that the Lakers will miss out on convincing the three-time NBA champion and he would be inclined to stay in Cleveland next season. Indeed, moving to the Western Conference seems an unlikely choice for The King as it would give him a much stiffer path to the NBA Finals especially this late in his career.
This leaves the Lakers with George and Cousins as the next best superstars available in the market. The report predicted that the team would sign George to a max salary deal while giving Cousins a “heavily discounted” one-year contract as a consequence of the Achilles injury he suffered in January.
George has long been linked to a move to the Hollywood franchise and the five-time NBA All-Star has not done anything to quell the rumors. In fact, he had been fanning the fire by telling ESPN‘s Rachel Nichols during the recent All-Star weekend that Los Angeles is “home” and that the opportunity to play in L.A. in front of his family and close friends will always draw his attention.
Meanwhile, Cousins is a different scenario in the sense that he has not previously expressed any desire to play for the Lakers, although the club has also long been interested in acquiring him. There were reports in the summer of 2015 that Boogie almost became a Laker when rumors of an internal beef between the player and then Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl went out.
It was said that Karl wanted to trade Cousins to the Lakers for Julius Randle and L.A.’s second overall pick (which turned out to become D’Angelo Russell), but the negotiations stopped when player and coach reportedly fixed their relationship.
Alcaraz said that the proposed scenario will allow the Lakers to avoid having to pay two maximum salary contracts. Thus, the team would have more financial flexibility to re-sign Randle to a better deal and may also retain diminutive guard Isaiah Thomas for a decent cost that would benefit all parties involved.