The Los Angeles Lakers are a team focusing on youth and the future. While the Lakers continue to work through growing pains, they must not forget to keep their eye on the prize. For years, the Lakers have had a player they could tie their franchise to. From Magic Johnson to Shaquille O’Neal and then Kobe Bryant, the baton has always been passed along. As the Lakers enter a new era, it was time to find a new face and while it seemed that D’Angelo Russell was unhesitant to take the mantle, the Lakers decided to go another route.
With the second pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Lakers selected Lonzo Ball and the rebuild was in motion. Normally, a team will be in the process for three-to-four-years and if that’s true, then 2019 should be a wild ride for Lakers’ fans.
According to Yahoo Sports, Magic Johnson may save some of his cap space for 2019. If that’s true, then one young player, in particular, could be the reason. The New York Knicks have endured a rough history when it comes to keeping superstars happy and Kristaps Porzingis may be no different. If the Knicks somehow falter this year and next, the Knicks could stand by and watch him walk out the door.
While there will be plenty of suitors lined up for his services, the lure and mystic of the Los Angeles Lakers could be too much for a young player like Porzingis to resist. Another reason for a Lakers and Porzingis pairing is the great unknown. With the Lakers set to have a ton of money to offer players, Porzingis could find himself paired with Paul George, Lonzo Ball and no telling who else by the time 2019 rolls around.
— ESPN (@espn) December 13, 2017
While Porzingis has played second-fiddle to Carmelo Anthony his first two seasons in the NBA, he has stepped his game up to All-Star level this year with averages of 25.5 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. Pairing Porzingis with Ball and possibly George will give the Lakers their own version of a big three.
Porzingis’ decision will come down to what the Knicks do this season and next. If Scott Perry cannot surround Porzingis with the necessary pieces to be contenders, then a team like the Lakers could be the solution. While Lakers’ fans are expecting a huge take in the summer of 2018 with either George or LeBron James, Johnson is playing the long game. LeBron is a great player but he will also be 34 by the flip of the 2018 calendar year. By waiting another year, the Lakers could possibly have a core of players no older than 28 years old. A quick fix is good and may bring a championship, however, a young core could be the foundation for a dynasty.
Maybe Kristaps Porzingis is the player Johnson had in mind when he made his statement.