The start of 2019 NBA free agency period is still over a week away and while the Los Angeles Lakers figure to be quite active during the month of July, they have already accomplished many feats this offseason.
Shortly after the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season, the Lakers mutually parted ways with head coach Luke Walton and conducted an extensive coaching search to find his replacement, pinpointing a multitude of candidates before hiring former Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel.
That was just the start of what has been a hectic last couple of months for them. Just two days after the Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, the Lakers changed the landscape of the league with their historic trade for Anthony Davis.
Los Angeles paid a hefty price to acquire the six-time NBA All-Star, surrendering most of their young core and a trio of first round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans.
And while the Lakers have emerged as early betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals as a result of the moves they’ve made, not everyone is convinced of their turnaround.
A rival NBA general manager opined that the Lakers coaching search and timing of the Davis trade has not inspired confidence around the league, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:
“The coaching search does not inspire confidence,” the rival GM said. “The way they’ve handled the timing of the trade has not inspired confidence. The dysfunction does not inspire confidence.”
Prior to the Lakers naming Vogel the 27th head coach in franchise history, the team initially had prioritized former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue and current Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams.
In what was a slow-moving process, Williams eventually went elsewhere while Lue removed his name from consideration after hitting a snag with the Lakers in contract discussions.
As for the Davis trade, many have criticized the Lakers over the timing of their agreement with the Pelicans. Looking to add a third max contract All-Star player in free agency, such will only be possible if the pact is finalized at the end of next month rather than July 6.
However, Los Angeles has explored additional ways to clear cap space and are looking to expand the Davis trade by unloading the salaries of Isaac Bonga, Jemerrio Jones, and Moritz Wagner.
Looking to round out their roster with minimum salaried players, the Lakers essentially purchased a second round pick from the Orlando Magic in the 2019 NBA Draft and selected Talen Horton-Tucker, who has intriguing size and defensive upside.