After missing the Western Conference Playoffs for the sixth straight year, the Los Angeles Lakers headed into the 2019 NBA offseason with the goal of surrounding LeBron James with established superstars via trade and free agency. The Lakers recently took a huge step forward when they succeeded to acquire All-Star center Anthony Davis in a blockbuster deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Lakers agreed to send Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks to the Pelicans in exchange for Davis.
Since the trade was announced, the Lakers immediately became one of the top favorites to fully dominate the deep Western Conference and win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 NBA season. Most people see Anthony Davis as the best teammate LeBron James ever had since entering the league in 2003. Davis will undeniably boost the Lakers’ overall performance, giving them a very reliable scoring option, floor-spacer, rebounder, and shot-blocker.
However, the successful acquisition of Anthony Davis is just the start for the Purple and Gold. After getting what they want on the trade market, the Lakers are now focused on obtaining their third superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency. In a Twitter post, Marc Stein of the New York Times revealed that the Lakers’ top free-agent target is Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.
“Kemba Walker will be a top target in free agency for the Lakers after they reached an agreement in principle to trade for Anthony Davis, according to league sources”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 15, 2019
It definitely makes sense for the Lakers to go after Kemba Walker instead of Jimmy Butler of the Philadephia 76ers or Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors, two incoming free-agent superstars who are heavily linked to the Lakers in the past months. With Lonzo Ball traded to New Orleans and Rajon Rondo’s contract set to expire, the Lakers will have a huge hole to fill in their backcourt. Signing Walker will immediately fill that void and enable the Lakers to form their own “Big Three.”
In the eight consecutive years he dominated the Eastern Conference, LeBron James found success on the court when playing alongside an All-Star caliber scoring guard like Kemba Walker. Unlike Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo, Walker is an efficient three-pointer, making it easier for James to penetrate the opposing team’s defense. To bring Walker to Los Angeles, the Lakers must be ready to give him a max contract in the 2019 NBA free agency.
However, since the 2018-19 NBA season officially ended, Kemba Walker has already stated his desire to stay in Charlotte. Walker even expressed his willingness to give the Hornets a discount in order to help them improve their roster this summer.