The Los Angeles Lakers may be among the heavy favorites to win the NBA championship title in the 2019-20 season, but they still aren’t excluded from the list of teams expected to make major upgrades to their roster this fall. In the past few months, the Lakers have been linked to several players expected to be available on the trade and free agency market in the 2020 NBA offseason. Despite having limited salary cap space and trade assets, Jonathan Kierman of Fansided’s Lake Show Life believes that the Lakers could form a “Fantastic Four” next season.
The first course of action is retaining the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Keeping James isn’t a problem since he’s under contract until the 2021-22 season, but the Lakers need to convince Davis to opt into his $28.7 million player option for the 2020-21 season or ink a new deal in the 2020 free agency. After successfully getting commitments from James and Davis, Kierman suggested that the Lakers could complete the final two spots of their “Fantastic Four” by targeting DeMarcus Cousins and Indiana Pacers shooting guard Victor Oladipo.
Between the two superstars, bringing Cousins to Los Angeles would be easier for the Lakers. Cousins is set to become an unrestricted free agent this fall. After spending the entire 2019-20 season recovering from an injury, the Lakers could acquire Cousins by simply offering him a veteran minimum deal or the mid-level exception in the 2020 NBA free agency. Cousins has gone through plenty of ups and downs in the past, but once he regains his All-Star status, Kierman believes that he could make the Lakers’ frontcourt more formidable next year.
“Before his injuries, Cousins was easily considered the best center in the game. Joel Embiid, Nikola Jokic, and Karl Anthony Towns were fighting for it, but Cousins had the crown. In the modern game, DeMarcus Cousins is the closest player we have to Shaq. A dominant offensive force who can beat you with a vast array of post moves in the paint or he can drill a hole in your chest and dunk on you. Cousins can also step out to the 3-point line which gives him added versatility, especially in today’s game.”
Meanwhile, to acquire Oladipo, the Lakers would need to give up some precious trade assets. In the proposed trade deal by Lake Show Life, the Lakers would send a trade package that includes Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma, and a 2020 first-round pick to the Pacers in exchange for Oladipo. The deal works on ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.
Targeting injured superstars like Cousins and Oladipo is undeniably a risky move for the Lakers. However, with plenty of time to recover from their respective injuries, there is a strong possibility that Cousins and Oladipo will be 100 percent healthy before the 2020-21 season officially starts. If Cousins and Oladipo return to their old selves and build good chemistry with James and Davis, the Lakers wouldn’t only become the No. 1 favorite to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season, but they would also have a realistic chance of achieving another three-peat and establishing a dynasty in Los Angeles.