The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the NBA teams who is expected to become major players in the 2019 NBA free agency. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where they could chase another superstar to pair with LeBron James.
In the past months, several incoming free agent superstars have already been linked to the Lakers. In the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft, LeBron James once again became the center of controversies after he picked players who will hit the free agency players next summer, including Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, and Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. Instead of Team LeBron, some people changed their squad’s name into Team Tamper.
Whenever they have the money to spend in free agency, big market teams always have the edge over small market teams in signing superstars. However, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the New York Knicks are more likely to be the next destination for incoming free agent superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Kevin Durant if ever they decide to leave their respective teams in the 2019 NBA offseason.
As Bontemps noted, the “most realistic options” for the Lakers in the 2019 NBA free agency are Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers and DeMarcus Cousins of the Warriors.
“Still, Butler is seen as arguably the most realistic option who could wind up in Los Angeles. The same goes for Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins (2018 All-Star), though he comes with his own set of risks — most notably the torn left Achilles tendon he has only recently returned from. Committing a long-term, big-money deal to him is, to put it mildly, a risky proposition. That said, it could wind up being the best option the Lakers have.”
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 3, 2019
Jimmy Butler and DeMarcus Cousins are not bad acquisitions at all for the Lakers. Despite failing to be named as an NBA All-Star this year, Butler remains as one of the best two-way players in the league. However, his inability to knock down shots from beyond the arc could pose a huge problem when he starts playing alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles.
Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins will fill the huge hole in the Lakers’ frontcourt, especially if both JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler leave as unrestricted free agents next summer. Before he suffered an Achilles injury, there is no doubt that Cousins is one of the most dominant centers in the NBA. However, the Lakers should be cautious regarding the type of contract they plan to give to “Boogie.”