As free agency is in progress, the Los Angeles Lakers have already had to adjust their plans. With Paul George opting to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers are expected to meet with DeMarcus Cousins in an attempt to secure LeBron James.
Leading up to July 1, the Lakers had established themselves as the favorites to sign James if he ultimately leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, after George’s decision, there are conflicting reports about how it impacts James.
With the Philadelphia 76ers scheduled to meet with James’ representatives in Los Angeles, they are the only other team that can easily clear enough salary cap space to sign the 33-year-old.
Despite the circumstances after the first night of free agency, some executives believe James has already made his decision, which is signing with the Lakers, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer:
Yes, the Lakers are still favorites—but not total locks—to sign LeBron James, league sources say. For what it’s worth, some executives believe LeBron’s indecision is all theater, and he has already decided on the Lakers as his new team.
After it appeared the Lakers had a clear path to both James and George, they are in an unsettling position.
While president of basketball operations Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have established a two-year window, the scenario of signing two All-Stars and potentially trading for Kawhi Leonard this offseason created extremely high expectations.
Regardless of what happens, the Lakers can always fall back on developing their young core. With strong draft picks over the last five years, Los Angeles can re-sign Julius Randle and add others on one-year contracts to try again in 2019 free agency.
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