While many expect the Los Angeles Lakers to put all their eggs in the upcoming 2018 free agency basket, there are also reports of their plan to remain as players in the 2019 market. The next two summers are indeed a crucial time for the rebuilding squad, and LA Sports Hub suggested that the Lakers should only sign one max player this year before going after Klay Thompson or DeAndre Jordan next year.
Despite currently being eight-and-a-half games behind the final playoff spot, this season has been an encouraging one for the Lakers. Magic Johnson's vision is being reached as planned with the team's young stars performing above expectations and their cap space prepared to accommodate two max salary players this summer.
As more games pass, the Lakers are becoming a more and more attractive destination for big name free agents, and it seems that they are going to finish the regular season with a bang.
Most fans and analysts alike are anticipating a double superstar signing of LeBron James and Paul George this offseason, which would make the most sense if the opportunity does come along. However, missing one or both would definitely not be the end for the Lakers' plans as next year's free agent crop is also as star-studded as this year's with Thompson, Jordan, Kawhi Leonard, and Jimmy Butler all entering the market.
LA Sports Hub's Jason Reed has a grand suggestion of what the multi-titled franchise should do in the next two summers to be able to maximize their opportunities. First, Reed proposed three big moves at the end of this season, namely retaining Julius Randle, signing George in free agency, and giving Isaiah Thomas a one-year, $18 million deal for next season.
Then, the reporter suggested extending Luol Deng's contract, turning a one-year, $18.8 million cap hit into a three-year, $6.3 million effect. Altering Deng's contract would give the Lakers an additional $12 million of cap space this summer and more next year while also giving the player more guaranteed money in the process.
The last step in the proposal is to sign either Thompson or Jordan depending on the team's needs at that time. While Thompson is the more versatile player, the Lakers will have too many wing players when the time comes with Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma having matured more and George thriving as their main man by then. Reed said that getting Thompson could still work, though, if Luke Walton decides to go the small ball route.
Meanwhile, acquiring Jordan would give the Lakers one of the best defensive teams in the league with George and Lonzo Ball also in the starting lineup. With Randle and Ingram completing the starting five, the Lakers would have youth and length on their side for many years to come as Jordan would be the only player above 30.