Magic Johnson has helped put the Los Angeles Lakers in contention for a shot at the NBA Finals in the Western Conference. LeBron James signed a four-year deal that shook the landscape of the NBA. Los Angeles also went out and brought in plenty of talent around him.
Players like Kentavous Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Rajon Rondo are all quality pickups. L.A. may not be able to contend with the Golden State Warriors this season, but James is there for four years and is not looking at year one as the only chance the team has to win a title.
That being said, Johnson is still intrigued by the idea of landing another star to pair with James.
According to a report shared by Bleacher Report, Damian Lillard is among the names that the Lakers are interested in acquiring. The Portland Trail Blazers’ guard has been mentioned in trade rumors the last couple of years, but those rumors have never gained serious traction.
Pairing Lillard with James would give the Lakers a chance to compete with the Warriors. Lillard is one of the best pure scorers in the NBA, but he is also a more than capable playmaker.
Last season with the Trail Blazers, Lillard ended up averaging 26.9 points per game to go along with 6.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds. He shot 43.9 percent from the floor overall and knocked down 36.1 percent of his three-point attempts. Those numbers would be nice to have alongside James moving forward.
At 27 years old, Lillard is in his prime and still has three more seasons left on his contract. That reason alone would be enough to make Johnson and the Lakers intrigued with the possibility of acquiring him.
If the Lakers choose not to acquire another star this offseason, they will have an excellent opportunity next year. Kawhi Leonard is set to hit free agency and his preferred destination has been Los Angeles as far as a trade was concerned this offseason. Adding a player like Leonard alongside James is a recipe for success.
Needless to say, the offseason is not over even though free agency has died down. There are still quite a few good players on the trade market that could be had at the right price. Lillard may not be moved, but it would make sense for the Lakers to throw a fairly aggressive offer at Portland to see if they would consider it.
Expect to hear the Lakers remain active in trade discussions throughout the rest of the offseason. They are committed to winning with James on board and Lillard could certainly help them do just that.