After five years of missing the playoffs, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves in a good position. With a competitive young core and cap space to sign two max contract players, the Lakers can continue developing their young prospects or attempt to end the rebuilding process.
As it stands, the storied franchise has already been linked with LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard. George and James would be additions in the form of free-agent signings, while Leonard would need to be acquired via trade, at least this summer.
With several scenarios needing to play themselves out, the Lakers have reportedly not ruled out trading Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram or other members of their young core, per Tania Ganguli of Los Angeles Times:
While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations.
Although the Lakers are keeping their options open, they are not believed to be looking to trade any of their young players and it would take a significant offer from another team to do so:
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
For president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, their goal is to make the playoffs for the 2018-19 NBA season. As currently constructed, the Lakers are capable of ending this drought if they re-sign Julius Randle, but the priority is becoming a perennial championship contender.
With the 2018 NBA Draft taking place on June 21 and free agency beginning on July 1, there is great optimism in Los Angeles moving forward.