The Los Angeles Lakers' plan to find a second superstar to pair with LeBron James is currently one of the worst kept secrets in the NBA. Despite having the best basketball player on the planet, the Lakers are definitely aware that their road to the NBA Finals won't be smooth, especially with the presence of the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, in the deep Western Conference.
The Lakers currently have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal and expected to create enough salary cap space to chase big names in the 2019 NBA free agency. In the past months, New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis is emerging as the Lakers' top trade target. The Pelicans made it clear that they have no intention of moving Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, but they will be forced to trade him next summer if they fail to convince him to sign a massive contract extension.
As everyone knows, the Lakers are currently reserving their best trade assets for Anthony Davis. In the potential deal that would send Davis to Los Angeles, Mark Heisler of the Orange Country Register revealed that Lonzo Ball will "likely" be part of the trade package. But if the Lakers are also aiming to add their third superstar through free agency, they will also need to send Brandon Ingram and his $7.3 million salary for the next season to New Orleans.
"Assuming the Lakers want a third superstar with LeBron and A.D. – from a list starting with Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson – they have to slice more than $20 million off next season's salary cap, which could go to New Orleans in a trade for Davis. Aside from James' $37.4 million, only two Lakers are under contract to make more than $2.1 million next season: Ball at $8.7 million, and Brandon Ingram at $7.3 million … making the young players likely, or all but certain, to be in any deal for A.D."Trading Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram will definitely be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Anthony Davis' caliber. Davis will tremendously improve the Lakers' performance on both ends of the floor, giving them an All-Star big man who can knock down shots from beyond the arc. In 41 games he played this season, the 25-year-old center/power forward is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.6 blocks, and 1.7 steals on 50.8 percent shooting from the field and 32.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Pairing LeBron James and Anthony Davis with another superstar will legitimize the Lakers' chance of ending their eight-year title drought. Some of the Lakers' potential targets in the 2019 NBA free agency include Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Klay Thompson.