After failing to reach the Western Conference Playoffs for the sixth straight year, the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to become more aggressive in finding a superstar who can play alongside LeBron James in the 2019-20 NBA season. The Lakers will be heading into the 2019 NBA free agency with enough salary cap space to chase the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, and Klay Thompson. However, if none of those players are interested in playing for the Purple and Gold, the Lakers could also go after second-tier free agents.
Several NBA rumors suggested that Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker should be the Lakers’ plan B in the 2019 NBA free agency but with the presence of Lonzo Ball, Jason Reed of Fansided’s L.A. Sports Hub believes that Los Angeles is better off targeting other players like Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers.
“However, in terms of fit with the Los Angeles Lakers, it is more than apparent that Tobias Harris is the better alternative. First of all, the Lakers already have their point guard in Lonzo Ball and a backcourt of Ball and Walker probably would not work. Second of all, Harris is a swiss army knife that can really guard both forward spots and would give the Lakers one of the most flexible starting lineups with Ball, Brandon Ingram, Harris and James all on the court at the same time. Oh yeah, and Kyle Kuzma, who could become one of the league’s best sixth men.”
Clippers called Celtics about Kyrie Irving before Tobias Harris trade https://t.co/wONQUJRzvc— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) April 26, 2019
Tobias Harris may not be on the level of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard, but he will still give the Lakers a very reliable scoring option and an incredible defender. What makes him an intriguing addition to the Purple and Gold is his ability to excel even if the ball is not always in his hands. In the first 27 games he played with the Sixers’ team that has Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, and Ben Simmons, the 26-year-old power forward still posted impressive numbers, averaging 18.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.9 assists 46.9 percent shooting from the field and 32.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
The successful acquisition of Tobias Harris will force the Lakers to demote Kyle Kuzma to the bench. However, as Reed noted, being moved to the second unit will give Kuzma a strong chance of winning the Sixth Man of the Year award next season. If a superstar becomes available on the market next summer, the Lakers could also use Kuzma as the main trade chip in a potential blockbuster deal.