The 2017-2018 regular season is coming to an end and with it begins the Los Angeles Lakers’ quest to make this coming offseason the biggest for the Hollywood franchise in recent years. Reports abound that the Lakers are going after two of the NBA’s best superstars, LeBron James and Paul George, in free agency this summer and their chances of getting both have been increasing, according to Metro USA.
Metro USA’s Matt Burke reported that the Lakers have “showed just enough this season” to attract the likes of James and George with their current young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. The trio may not have led the team to a winning record (L.A. is 34-46 with two games left in the regular season), but it has been quite an improvement compared to the last four seasons.
More importantly, Los Angeles has enough salary cap space this summer to sign the two superstars, which would play a significant part in the process. According to the report, the Lakers have almost $50 million in cap space at the moment. That could increase to around $70 million when the free agency period begins in July, which is more than enough to accommodate both James and George.
Burke noted that the key to pulling off this haul is convincing George to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and go back home to Los Angeles. If George feels he could win more in L.A. while playing more often in front of family and friends, then a return to his hometown squad would be highly possible.
However, the Thunder has recently secured a playoff spot after beating the Miami Heat, 115-93, on Monday night, which reportedly increases OKC’s bid to retain George.
The five-time NBA All-Star recently told reporters that he is “happy” in Oklahoma City and that he would not make the result of the coming postseason dictate where he decides to go this summer, per Silver Screen & Roll. He also said that he could see himself staying with the Thunder next season.
If the Lakers can secure George’s services in July, then acquiring James would most likely follow, Burke said. The reporter continued that LeBron preferred to play with veteran stars who already have a proven track record than joining a team of inexperienced players. Having George on the roster makes the Lakers a more attractive destination for the three-time NBA champion.