With free agency fast approaching on June 30, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to improve the roster around LeBron James heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
In their first move of the offseason, the Lakers traded their entire young core except for Kyle Kuzma and multiple draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis.
With two All-Star players, general manager Rob Pelinka and the Lakers have accomplished their two-year goal but could potentially sign a third All-Star player heading into June 30.
Although it is reportedly a two-team race between the Toronto Raptors and Los Angeles Clippers in free agency, Kawhi Leonard and his camp have ‘kept their eye’ on the Lakers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
“I think they’ve kept their eye on the Lakers and what that’s going to look like. The Lakers financially… can they get to… what number are they going to get to in free agency in terms of cap space? Is Anthony Davis going to give up that $4 million trade bonus? He still has time to do that before July 6 when that deal goes through, but this has been a Raptors-Clippers race.”
While the Lakers are expected to have $23.7 million in cap space after the Davis trade, they are reportedly confident they can clear more, according to Bill Oram of The Athletic:
Much of last week was occupied by analysts questioning whether Pelinka, in his zeal to complete the Davis deal, had overlooked certain nuances of the salary cap and made it more difficult to create space for another max player. But sources said the Lakers remain confident they can get close enough to the roughly $32 million needed to sign a player like Irving or Kemba Walker to a max deal — by dumping the contracts of Moe Wagner, Isaac Bonga and Jemerrio Jones — if they get a commitment from a top-tier player.
Through all of the conflicting reports since Leonard’s trade request from the San Antonio Spurs, no one truly knows what he will do, but the one constant has been Los Angeles.
After the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, there have been debates about if this helps or hurts their chances of re-signing Leonard.
Outside of Marc Gasol (player option) and Danny Green, Leonard’s supporting cast will be under contract to defend their championship. However, the opportunity to play for one of the Los Angeles teams may be his top priority.