The Los Angeles Lakers are currently focusing on earning a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs, but when the 2018-19 NBA season is over, President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka will be aggressive once again in chasing another superstar to pair with LeBron James. After failing to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers are expected to resume their trade negotiation with the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019 NBA offseason.
With the Boston Celtics likely to join the pursuit for Anthony Davis, the Lakers have a lesser chance of acquiring the All-Star big man, especially after the Pelicans rejected the trade package including Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Ivica Zubac.
If Davis ends up being traded to another NBA team, Adam Fromal of Bleacher Report suggested that the Lakers’ “Plan B” is to target Golden State Warriors superstars Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins, who will both become unrestricted free agents in the summer of 2019.
“At that point, signing a center with plenty of enduring upside — one who’s starting to prove he can rekindle his dominant, pre-Achilles-tear form with the Golden State Warriors — may well be the best outcome. Add a legendary shooter still firmly in his prime who played high school ball in California and is no stranger to being linked to the Lakers, and you’re cooking with gas. It may be inconceivable to consider the Splash Brothers splitting while they’re currently questing toward a third consecutive date with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, but that’s the premise under which we’re operating for this article; top-10 free agents can’t stay in place.”
Warriors: It’s time to recognize Klay Thompson’s peerless 2019 form https://t.co/Chn9YQD3w8
— Alan Nishihara (@Alan_Nishihara) February 28, 2019
Aside from having a plethora of trade assets, the Lakers will also have enough salary cap space to chase big names in the 2019 NBA free agency. The successful acquisition of Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins would tremendously increase the Lakers’ chance of dominating the Western Conference and adding multiple championship banners at Staples Center. Adding another superstar who can excel in an off-ball capacity in Thompson, and an All-Star center who has the ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc in Cousins, will greatly benefit Lakers superstar LeBron James.
However, as of now, it remains a big question mark if the Lakers can convince both Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins to leave the Warriors in the 2019 NBA free agency. The Lakers have a realistic chance of signing Cousins, especially if he demands a huge payday next summer. However, Thompson’s case is different. Whenever he’s asked about his impending free agency, Thompson said that he’s planning to re-sign and finish his NBA career with the Warriors.