Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have long made it known of their intentions to pursue superstar free agents this summer. At the top of that list sits LeBron James and Paul George, with DeMarcus Cousins having fallen off because of an Achilles injury.
With their trade of Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. at this season’s deadline, the Lakers put themselves in position to sign two max-level free agents. And though much of the talk has centered around this summer, Johnson and Pelinka have clarified cap space could be preserved for 2019.
In any event, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported their focus remains on signing George and James once they become 2018 free agents, via ESPN L.A.:
“The Lakers plan hasn’t changed. They want to get both of them."
– @wojespn on Lakers going after Lebron & Paul George
— ESPNLosAngeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) April 19, 2018
However unlikely signing both George and James seems, it’s understandable that the Lakers will at minimum make an effort to do so.
The more likely scenario might be landing George and re-signing Julius Randle, who will be a restricted free agent and hopes to remain with the team. It’s a sentiment Lakers head coach Luke Walton also expressed about the talented forward.
George has of course been linked to the Lakers since his time with the Indiana Pacers. But rather than cave to his reported desire to return to Los Angeles, the Pacers traded the five-time All-Star to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And though Oklahoma City is a playoff team, whispers about George’s intentions to eventually sign with the Lakers have not gone away.
What could impact the Lakers’ plans in free agency is whether or not the San Antonio Spurs make Kawhi Leonard available via trade. Should they elect to, he reportedly prefers to join Los Angeles.