Although it took five months, the Los Angeles Lakers traded the entire young core (minus Kyle Kuzma) and multiple draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
While the Lakers finally landed the second All-Star player alongside LeBron James, all of the attention has been on whether they still have a max-contract slot in free agency.
Depending on when the Davis trade is official, the Lakers could have between $23.7-32.5 million for free agents.
As the Lakers reportedly will pursue Kawhi Leonard if they have a max-contract slot available, he is still celebrating the 2019 NBA Finals win against the Golden State Warriors, according to Ian Harrison of Associated Press:
“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “It’s not time to stress, it’s still time to have some fun. I’ve just been enjoying my experience.”
However, Leonard did provide a timeline on a potential decision heading into June 30, according to Harrison:
“I’m going to take the right time,” he said. “You don’t need too many days to figure it out. We’ll see what happens. Once that time comes, then we’ll all lay the pros and cons out.”
As it is unclear if the 2019 NBA Finals will impact Leonard’s decision, the one constant has been his desire to play in Los Angeles. Although the narrative has changed from the Lakers to the Los Angeles Clippers, only time will tell.
For the Lakers, it is currently unclear if they were unaware of the timing in regards to the Davis trade. With numerous All-Star players being linked to them, it would be disappointing.
Instead of a potential third All-Star player, general manager Rob Pelinka and company may have to settle for numerous role players. While the Lakers could use the depth now, some players may have taken less to join Los Angeles.
Due to Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson’s injuries, the landscape of the NBA is changing. For the first time in five seasons, there is no favorite to win the 2020 NBA Finals and the Lakers are currently positioning themselves now.
However, if Leonard does sign with the Lakers, they would be favorites to win for at least the next 2-3 seasons.