Despite the 2-4 start, the Lakers still won last summer — they landed LeBron James. This is now a franchise back to being a threat to move into contender status, to become a real threat in the West.
Just not this season. The Lakers need another superstar (and to figure out who among their young core is ready to make that step up to playing with LeBron). They know it. Team president Magic Johnson knows it.
Magic, part owner of the Dodgers, went on the Fox pregame show before Los Angeles blew a 4-0 lead and fell behind 3-1 to Boston in the World Series, and Johnson joked he wasn’t done getting stars to the Lakers.
Lakers fans hope he isn’t joking.
It’s also not going to be that easy. While many executives around the league expect Kevin Durant may leave Golden State next summer, he’s doing so to secure his legacy with his “own team” and moving to the shadow of LeBron James does not fit that. (Can you imagine the backlash, after the heat KD got for going to the Warriors, if he teamed up with LeBron next?)
Kawhi Leonard‘s people have talked about him wanting to go to Los Angeles next summer, but the Raptors are the hottest team in the NBA early and will have a shot to keep him (they can offer one more guaranteed year and about $50 million more guaranteed as well). Plus, like a lot of reporters around the league, I hear as much or more Clipper talk with Leonard as I do Lakers.
The real target may be Anthony Davis, who switched agents to LeBron’s agent Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. A lot of executives around the league think he could be Laker bound — but he has two years left on his current contract. The Pelicans are not going to trade him this season — next July they will put a $240 million designated veteran contract extension in front of him and try to get him to sign it. If he says no, then things get interesting, but the Pelicans still may not trade him, top five players don’t land in New Orleans often and they need to do everything they can to keep him. This may not be a fast process for the Lakers.