Despite ending their title drought last season, the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers continue to find ways to upgrade their current roster. They first addressed their need for another shot creator and playmaker by trading for Dennis Schroder and filled the huge holes left by their departing veterans by signing Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell, and Wesley Matthews in the 2020 free agency. Though all of their offseason acquisitions are viewed as preparation to defend their throne in the 2020-21 NBA season, some people think that it’s also a major step toward another big move that they are planning to make in the summer of 2021. That’s when Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
With the recent additions of Schroder and Matthews, and their decision to bring back Kostas Antetokounmpo, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that the Lakers are “building a relationship” with Giannis’ agency, Octagon.
“The Lakers also seemed to be building a relationship with another agency in Octagon, where Giannis Antetokounmpo is partnered with Alex Saratsis and Jeff Austin. Is it a coincidence that Schroder, Matthews and the younger Antetokounmpo are all with Octagon? Wasn’t it that first year with Caldwell-Pope, a year before James’ arrival in Los Angeles, that the Lakers began to build a relationship with Paul and Klutch? It doesn’t take much to see the Lakers were trying to follow the same path.”
The Lakers did the same thing before they pursued LeBron James in the 2018 free agency. In the summer of 2017, they formed connections with Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group by bringing one of his clients, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, to Los Angeles. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Lakers are doing the same thing with Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo is currently one of the best active players in the league. His arrival in Los Angeles would tremendously boost their performance on both ends of the floor and enable them to form the best Big Three in league history with James and Anthony Davis. Also, the successful acquisition of Antetokounmpo would bridge the gap to the next era of Lakers’ basketball when James officially ends his NBA career.
However, bringing the “Greek Freak” to the Lakers would be extremely difficult, especially after James and AD agreed to massive contract extensions this fall. To make salary cap room for Antetokounmpo, they would need to trade Caldwell-Pope, Gasol, and their 2021 first-round pick after the draft without taking any salary back. They would also have to convince Davis to take a cut of approximately $10 million next offseason.
Aside from KCP and Gasol, the Lakers would also be forced to part ways with some important members of their rotation, including Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Harrell, and Schroder. As of now, acquiring Antetokounmpo may just be a pipe dream for the Lakers. However, it’s interesting to see how far Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is willing to go if the “Greek Freak” expressed a desire to join the Purple and Gold in free agency.