With NBA free agency fast approaching (approx: Sat 9:01 PM PT), there have been of flurry of reports about LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. First, let’s start with the biggest name in free agency, which is LeBron James. Free agents have till Friday on whether to opt in or out of their contracts. There have been rumors ever since James got bounced in the NBA Finals, that Los Angeles would be a possible destination. According to Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN, “LBJ wants to make a decision quickly…strongly considering LA.” With that being said, James does not want a debacle like his last announcement, as he may want to do things quietly this time around. But does James want to come here alone? Does he not want to be the first to get the dominos falling? Lakers can offer him a huge contract, and his brand can go into orbit in a market such as Los Angeles. He could also be hesitant whether the Lakers can get an extra piece to join him. The other option would be for James to stay in Cleveland and possibly do another 1-yr deal if he sees his options elsewhere are not to his liking. If James does choose LA, he will make them at the very least a playoff team.
Many takeaways in this story. LBJ wants a quick decision…strongly considering LA…but would he come without a co-star? …Paul George’s indecision… Spurs willingness to engage with the Lakers on Kawhi after shutting the door initially… Cavs waiting & hoping…FRIDAY looms! https://t.co/PICSkKXsSN
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 27, 2018
Now, let’s look at the Kawhi situation. As reported yesterday, Adrian Wojnarowski along with Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN a said that “the Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing Kawhi Leonard.” Just not too long ago, there were reports that the Spurs had shut the door on any talks with the Lakers due to the fact that they’re conference rivals and that San Antonio would do that as a last resort. Fast forward to today, and things may have changed. The Lakers may have an offer that the Spurs simply can’t refuse or that there aren’t very good offers coming their way. Also, the Boston Celtics could possibly be involved in trying to acquire the superstar from the Spurs. So far, reports have been that Kawhi wants to be in Los Angeles. Preferably the destination would be the Lakers, but the Clippers could also be in play since being hounded by media, especially with a team like the Lakers could be something Kawhi may not want to deal with. Pulling off a deal with the Spurs could mean that the Lakers would have to give up a substantial amount to acquire him. Players like Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Lonzo Ball and possibly some first round picks are something the Spurs might ask in return. It’s a steep price as the Lakers would basically be trading their future and a good amount of their roster.
Update from this morning’s story. The Lakers re-engaged the Spurs Wednesday in aggressively pursuing Kawhi Leonard. Story w/ @wojespn coming shortly on ESPN. This is the first contact between the teams since the Spurs “shut the door” on them after an initial call.
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 28, 2018
Lastly, there’s the Paul George situation. It’s been long rumored that after his departure from Indiana and into Oklahoma City that George’s name has been linked with the Lakers. After all, the star is a native California kid hailing from Palmdale, a suburb about 40 mins away from downtown Los Angeles. This morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN has said George informed the Thunder that he will opt out of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. This might be good news for the Lakers, but also keep in mind most players opt out in order to get more money if they decided to sign again with their current team. There have been reports of George really mulling his decision whether or not to leave the Thunder as he has grown to love the city and it’s fan base. For the first time in his career Paul George is a free agent and has the decision to go wherever he wants. His priority is to win, but teaming up with LeBron James in Los Angeles would certainly put the Lakers in instant contention.
The Lakers are in a good situation whether or not one big free agent comes, two, or possibly all three. The Lakers have multiple options. If they strike out this summer, they can also wait and develop their talented young core, which could be appealing come summer of 2019. Whatever the outcome, this has certainly been a whirlwind and will continue to be until free agency is officially over.
Sources on ESPN: Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George informs franchise that he is not opting into final year of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent. https://t.co/skRquzhnjb
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 28, 2018