The Los Angeles Lakers are on the verge of a key offseason right now. They lack a president of basketball operations, people around the league don’t seem to like or trust Rob Pelinka, and top-tier players don’t want to feel LeBron has too much power on the team.
So, luring top-tier talents to the Staples Center is going to be extremely difficult right now considering how the team has fared as of late, even with their winning culture and LeBron James also on board.
Either way, we all know there’s just no way in hell a team like the Lakers is going to end up empty-handed. So, let’s take a look at the top realistic and unrealistic targets for them in free agency.
5. Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker wants to stay with the Charlotte Hornets, but he’s well aware of the fact that he needs to get the hell out of there if he wants to have a shot at winning an NBA Championship one day.
He may be pursuit by the Lakers, but with them high on Kyrie Irving, he’s likely to sign a deal elsewhere first, with the Dallas Mavericks reportedly going to be quite aggressive in order to sign him.
4. Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson has always been tied with a move to the Los Angeles Lakers, considering his father Mychal Thompson was a part of that legendary Showtime team next to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
However, Klay has repeatedly claimed that he’s quite comfortable where he is right now, as the Warriors can offer him a lot of money, a lot of shots, and a huge chance to win yet another Championship.
3. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is set to leave the Golden State Warriors after three years with the team. Judging by his words, he’s not much of a fan of Steve Kerr, and he just wants to have his own legacy elsewhere.
That’s why he’s not joining forces with LeBron James. He wants to be his own man and the team’s biggest star to prove he doesn’t need anyone else to win a Championship and that he didn’t take the easy way out by joining the Warriors.
2. Kyrie Irving
Some people reported Kyrie Irving was looking forward to a reunion with LeBron James and that he would give them a chance to make a run at him in the summer, but we just don’t see that happening.
Irving didn’t want to live by LeBron’s shadow and wanted to embrace his role as a leader elsewhere, so there’s no reason to think he feels otherwise now. Also, the Knicks are the frontrunners to sign him.
1. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard reportedly doesn’t want to team up with LeBron James, and that’s a rumor that’s been around the league for quite some time. Also, some people report he’s quite happy up north with the Raptors.
Even if he winds up leaving Canada to make his dream move to Los Angeles, the Clippers have a bigger shot at landing him than the Lakers at this point, so we just don’t see this happening either.
2. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins may be up for grabs next season, as teams are going to be extremely cautious with his situation as he’s coming off back-to-back season-ending injuries and may need some time to be back.
If the Lakers make him a good offer and are willing to be patient with him, he might as well commit to joining them. LeBron has always been fond of him, and they definitely need an upgrade at center.
1. Jimmy Butler
Jimmy Butler is one of the fiercest competitors in the league and it’s not even close. That’s the kind of player you want to pair LeBron James with, especially considering James is no longer the lockdown defender he once was.
If the Philadelphia 76ers don’t make it to the NBA Finals, the Lakers might have a huge shot at signing him, especially if Tobias Harris also decides to leave the team. Truth to be told, he’s their most realistic target right now.