After a month full of uncertainty, the Los Angeles Lakers eventually addressed the president of basketball operations and head coach positions.
As the Lakers reportedly will not hire Magic Johnson’s replacement, they did hire former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel to become Luke Walton’s replacement.
While there are more questions than answers, the Lakers can finally shift their focus to the 2019 NBA Draft and free agency now. Armed with the No. 4 pick and a max-contract slot, the reality is they have numerous options to sign or trade for a second All-Star player alongside LeBron James.
Although all of the attention has naturally been on Anthony Davis, the Lakers could pursue Bradley Beal if the New Orleans Pelicans ultimately do not want to trade him to Los Angeles, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
The Lakers have other players they’re targeting in trades, according to league sources. Chief among them is Wizards guard Bradley Beal, though with the Wizards not yet hiring a front office honcho, no decision has been made whether to trade Beal. But LA will be in position to make an attractive offer if Beal is put on the block.
If the Toronto Raptors are unable to re-sign Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers could pursue Kyle Lowry, according to Deveney:
There’s also interest in point guard Kyle Lowry, who could be available if the Raptors lose Kawhi Leonard in free agency. Because of Lowry’s age (33) and contract ($33 million for next season), the Lakers could bring him in for a relatively limited outgoing package.
While it is unclear, Lowry could be an option if the Lakers ultimately strike out in free agency and are looking to preserve their cap space for the following offseason. After Lowry signed a three-year, $100 million deal prior to the 2017-18 NBA season, he is set to make $33.3 million in his final year.
Based on this assumption, it appears the Lakers are willing to go through the 2019-20 season full of one-year deals again. Although this is not ideal in terms of building continuity with James and the young core, Davis will become an unrestricted free agent by then.
With numerous options to improve the roster, all the conflicting reports about general manager Rob Pelinka and company will be pushed to the side if they can turn the Lakers into a championship contender again. However, it remains a big ‘if’ at this time.