With free agency almost here, president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are ready for perhaps the most important offseason in Los Angeles Lakers history.
Armed with a competitive young core and ample cap space to sign two max-contract players, the Lakers have been heavily linked to LeBron James, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard.
As the storied franchise reportedly has the ‘inside track’ on James, it appears George may re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Leonard faces an uncertain future with the San Antonio Spurs.
As a result, Johnson and Pelinka are keeping their options open if they are only able to sign James. According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, DeMarcus Cousins is an ‘increasingly likely target’ for the Lakers amid reports about George:
DeMarcus Cousins sounds like an increasingly likely target for the Lakers on a short-term max contract now that it appears Los Angeles will lose out on Paul George, per league sources. In January 2017, LeBron James called Cousins "the best big man in our game."
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 1, 2018
After having a career season with the New Orleans Pelicans, Cousins unfortunately suffered a ruptured Achilles injury. Although Cousins is only 27-years-old and considered one of the best players in the league, it is a devastating injury that will likely impact the length of his next contract.
For the Lakers, they have established a two-year window in free agency. While there are risks associated with Cousins and he may not be ready to play to begin the 2018-19 NBA season, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
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