The Los Angeles Lakers will almost certainly miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season, but there is real hope in the air now that the team has a solid core of young talent to build around.
Further bolstering optimism is the fact that they will have a mountain of cap space at their disposal this summer when the likes of LeBron James, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will be free agents.
Rival teams wouldn’t be thrilled to see the Lakers back on top, but count former Laker Matt Barnes among those who hope Los Angeles brings in superstars once again. On “In The Zone” with Chris Broussard, Barnes explained his thinking:
“I want LeBron to come to the Lakers next year, and I want Paul George or Boogie to come to the Lakers. I want to see the Lakers get back on top. I love what the Lakers are right now. To me, the only two people you don’t trade are Kuzma and Ball, and Ingram is right there. This is all due respect to the whole team. This is just me talking trash. I want to see LeBron come here and finish up. Paul come home or Boogie come here, and put them back on top.”
But even if they manage to sign a pair of superstars, Barnes isn’t completely convinced that the Lakers would be the team hoisting the championship at the end of the season:
“I don’t know if they can win it, because you still have to go through Houston and Golden State. But they’re going to be a fun team and it’s going to be the best thing to ever happen to Zo and Kuzma. To have LeBron around you, and then another star in Paul George. To really teach these guys. What I really love about the Lakers is they’re young, they don’t know any better right now.”
Some are concerned that the insertion of star-level players at this juncture could stunt the growth of the young Lakers, but as Barnes mentions, it could turn out to be exactly what players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma need in order to reach the next level.
It still has to be considered a long shot that Los Angeles will be able to sign two of Cousins, George or James this summer, but even if they don’t, this Lakers team is turning heads and letting the NBA know that they are on their way back.
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