After suffering another disappointing season, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be more aggressive in upgrading their roster in the 2019 NBA offseason. 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. As of now, several NBA superstars are topping the list of the Lakers’ free-agent targets, including Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, and Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics.
However, there is no assurance that those superstars will choose to wear the Purple and Gold in the 2019-20 NBA season. Klay Thompson has already expressed interest in re-signing with the Warriors, while Kawhi Leonard is expected to choose the Los Angeles Clippers over the Lakers if ever he decides to leave the Raptors in free agency. In the past months, there are speculations that Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are planning to team up in New York. If they fail to land their top free-agent targets, Shane Rhodes of the Basketball Insiders believes that Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets could be a “great plan B” for the Lakers.
“Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma both stepped up this season, but neither player, nor whatever other players the Lakers take into the offseason, will be enough to contend for a title, regardless of whether or not the Golden State Warriors retain Durant’s services. They, at the very least, need a star to pair with James, and they will almost certainly be in touch with anyone and everyone that fits the description. Like New York, should the Lakers fail to land their top targets, Walker could prove a great plan B.”
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) April 8, 2019
Kemba Walker may not be on the level of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Kyrie Irving, but he will still be an incredible addition to the Lakers. Lonzo Ball is an impressive playmaker and perimeter defender, but LeBron James found success when playing alongside a high-scoring point guard like Dwyane Wade in Miami and Irving in Cleveland. Walker has the ability to attract defenders and can take charge in crucial situations when the opposing team’s defense focused on James.
This season, Kemba Walker is averaging 25.5 points, 5.9 assists, and 1.3 steals on 43.0 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. So far, it remains unknown if Walker has any interest in joining the Lakers, but if the Hornets fail to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, it is highly likely that he will leave in the 2019 NBA free agency.