After suffering a huge disappointment in the 2018-19 NBA season, Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are expected to become more aggressive in upgrading their roster and finding a superstar to play alongside LeBron James. Having the salary cap space and a plethora of trade assets, the Lakers have the ability to acquire superstars in both the free agency and trade market.
However, having the money to spend and the players and draft picks to trade don’t give the Lakers a 100 percent assurance that they can get the players they want in the 2019 NBA offseason. NBA insiders from ESPN recently discussed the several topics about the Lakers, including the things they could do to legitimize their chance of contending for the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.
According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN, the “realistic worst-case outcome” for the Lakers next summer is to fail to acquire their top targets in the free agency and trade market. If top-tier free agents like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker aren’t interested in teaming up with LeBron James in Los Angeles, Arnovitz predicted that the Lakers may consider offering Jimmy Butler a max contract worth $141 million over four years in free agency.
“The Lakers fail in their pursuit of Davis and are never truly in the mix for Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson or Kemba Walker. Feeling the pressure to close a deal with a big-name talent, the Lakers extend a four-year, $141 million maximum contract offer to Jimmy Butler, who will turn 30 just before training camp opens in September. They fill out the roster with seasoned veterans, the best of whom are four years past their prime.”
Former Bulls star and current 76er Jimmy Butler says he has nothing but love for Chicago.— Chicago Sports (@ChicagoSports) March 7, 2019
“This is still home. I love it here. I do. I think everybody knows that. I’ll be back a lot during the summer.”https://t.co/ablutkdWl6 via @KCJHoop pic.twitter.com/CuLZ9Wg1h4
Jimmy Butler is not a bad acquisition at all for the Lakers. Despite suffering multiple injuries, Butler remains as one of the best two-way players in the league. In the first 43 games he played with the Philadelphia 76ers this season, the 29-year-old small forward is averaging 18.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.9 steals on 47.2 percent shooting from the field and 34.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
However, it remains a big question mark if Jimmy Butler will really consider leaving the Sixers for the Lakers next summer. Despite having the best basketball player on the planet, the Lakers aren’t in any way better than the Sixers right now. Also, the Sixers could offer Butler a better contract than any other team next July. Since acquiring Butler in a blockbuster deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sixers have already expressed their desire to spend a huge amount of money just to bring Butler back in free agency.