The arrival of LeBron James in the last free agency period made most people believe that the Los Angeles Lakers were finally ready to make a huge noise in the deep Western Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. With James on their side, the Lakers managed to reach as high as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference but after suffering multiple injuries, they started to drop down the standings. However, even though they have a healthy roster, most people still don’t see the Lakers being a major threat to the reigning NBA champions, Golden State Warriors.
As of now, the Lakers are well aware that they need to surround James a better supporting cast in order to have a legitimate chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in Los Angeles. Having a max salary cap space and a plethora of trade assets, the Lakers have plenty of ways to improve their roster in the summer of 2019. In a recent appearance on The Sedano Show, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times and Dave McMenamin of ESPN discussed how crucial the 2019 NBA offseason is for James and the Lakers.
Several incoming free agent superstars have already been linked to the Lakers, including Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics, Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, and Jimmy Butler of the Philadelphia 76ers. However, in the past months, rumors and speculations have been circulating that some of those big names aren’t interested in teaming up with LeBron James.
As McMenamin noted, the Lakers remain very optimistic about their chances to acquire a superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency but things could start to get worse if they fail to sign at least one of their top targets.
“Everyone I speak to associated with LeBron, they are holding the rope for now, and all they can do is be positive because this is going to be a crucial five-week stretch,” McMenamin said, as quoted by CBS Sports.
Meanwhile, Plaschke revealed that a source told him that if the Lakers “whiff” on free agency and trade, LeBron James may consider finding his way out of Los Angeles.
“I heard this for the first time yesterday, somebody very connected said ‘You know what, if they whiff, LeBron’s going to say either I’m out of here or get me out of here, or the Lakers just might as well just get him out of here.’ So this is huge,” Plaschke said.
If the Lakers go home empty-handed in the 2019 NBA offseason, it will definitely not be a surprise if LeBron James decides to request a trade. As much as he loves the Lakers’ young core, James knows that he needs help from established superstars to bring the Purple and Gold back to title contention. The departure of James a year after they acquired him will likely break the hearts of lots of Lakers’ fans, but general manager Rob Pelinka and his staff will surely do everything they can to keep “The King” happy in his new kingdom.