After missing the Western Conference Playoffs for the sixth consecutive year, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to become more aggressive in upgrading their roster in the 2019 NBA offseason. When they failed to sign Paul George last summer, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts in order to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019.
As of now, most people are expecting the Lakers to let all their incoming free agents, including Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Kentavious Caldwell Pope, walk away next summer. Despite their struggle in their first season wearing the Purple and Gold, most of the Lakers’ veterans are still interested in re-signing in the 2019 NBA free agency. In a recent interview with Bill Oram of The Athletic, Stephenson urged the Lakers to give them “another shot,” believing that their current roster has what it takes to win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season.
“Man, I don’t know,” Stephenson said. “But I feel like this team right here, healthy, we had a shot. We would have had a shot, so why not give us another shot? … This team could do it. I just think we need more time together.”
JaVale McGee echoed the same sentiment as Lance Stephenson, but he has a huge doubt if the Lakers will prioritize bringing them back in the 2019 NBA free agency. McGee doesn’t seem very optimistic that he will still be wearing the Purple and Gold next season, but he said that “anything’s possible.”
“I think it’s true, but I think it’s probably not what’s going to happen,” McGee said. “It’s the NBA, so people don’t take, ‘Oh, they got injured, that’s probably why.’ No. They take it as, ‘It didn’t work.’ So I doubt they bring back the exact same group, but anything’s possible.”
JaVale McGee and Lance Stephenson think the Lakers just needed "a little more time" to gel, but don’t expect the team to bring the whole roster back this summer. https://t.co/Yot6lDDJzJ pic.twitter.com/KTtNIUAMRD— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) April 2, 2019
The Lakers were not as bad as what most people thought before the 2018-19 NBA season started. When healthy, the Lakers have managed to reach as high as the No. 4 seed in the deep Western Conference. If they will continue playing together and build better chemistry, the Lakers’ current roster has definitely a chance of accomplishing something big in the 2019-20 NBA season.
However, the Lakers’ top priority in the 2019 NBA free agency is to find a second superstar to pair with LeBron James where their top targets include Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, and Jimmy Butler. Aside from chasing big names in free agency, the Lakers are also set to resume their trade negotiation with the New Orleans Pelicans involving All-Star center Anthony Davis.