Facing one of the most important offseasons in franchise history, the Los Angeles Lakers received some good news at the lottery and secured the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Despite the odds being heavily stacked against them, the Lakers managed to add another valuable asset in which they’ll soon determine how to use moving forward.
General manager Rob Pelinka will evaluate all options including whether to keep the pick and add to the young core or attempt to package it for an All-Star player such as Anthony Davis, who hasn’t backed off from his trade demands.
Shortly after that order of business is handled, the Lakers will then pivot their efforts toward pairing LeBron James with a second All-Star player in free agency. Among the options that figure to be available include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard — to name a few established players expected to reach the open market.
The highly-anticipated 2019 NBA free agency period has the potential to alter the landscape of the league and according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the madness could begin a little sooner this year. The annual moratorium is expected to start on June 30 as opposed to the usual July 1:
The NBA is expected to move up the start of its annual moratorium from midnight on July 1 to 6pm on June 30, sources told ESPN. The move will shift the league away from an antiquated system by allowing teams to start talking to players at a reasonable hour.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 15, 2019
With the annual moratorium period being moved up to the final day in June, it will afford the Lakers and the other 29 teams an earlier opportunity to recruit free agents.
Initial reports indicate that Irving has already held discussions on the possibility of reuniting with James in Los Angeles. Landing a player of his caliber would go a long way for the franchise as they look to return to championship contention as soon as possible.
Other options the Lakers could pursue include Bradley Beal, who represents a fallback plan in the event Davis remains in New Orleans or lands elsewhere. Kyle Lowry may also become available if Leonard bolts and the franchise decides to rebuild.
Derrick Favors could also appeal to Los Angeles if his team option is declined and he becomes a free agent. Though, Los Angeles will surely look to aim higher by first targeting some of the aforementioned names in free agency and trades.