In what will be another wild offseason in the NBA this year, a lot of decisions, potential trades and signings will happen this summer. With players such as Paul George, Chris Paul, and Gordon Hayward being the marquee players that will be involved in discussions, there’s no telling what moves will go down as the draft and free agency comes up. In the mix of all of this, however, expect the Los Angeles Lakers to be involved in many decisions that will leave its mark on the league this summer.
With this past Tuesday night being the draft lottery, the Lakers got the luck of the pong balls once again and will have the 2nd overall pick in this year’s NBA draft for the second consecutive year. With last year’s selection, forward Brandon Ingram, all signs point to the Lakers selecting former UCLA point guard, Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick.
With Magic Johnson being the new Head of Basketball Operations for the franchise, there is a lot of pressure on him to orchestrate the Lakers into the right direction that he and owner, Jeanie Buss, promised they would after they took over the team back in February.
Johnson has openly said in numerous interviews that he has no problems with Lavar Ball and how he basically runs his son’s career up to this point. In addition, with Lavar publicly saying that Lonzo will only try out for the Lakers, it seems as though Ball to the Lakers is a done deal.
However, with drafting Lonzo, the team will most likely have to move on from D’Angelo Russell and put him, as well as other players, in trade talks as the draft draws closer. The next question, however, is who do you go out and trade for? Well, if you have been watching Sportscenter, Jimmy Kimmel, or have been reading articles, it’s no secret that Paul George to the Lakers is a great possibility this summer.
Ever since this year’s trade deadline, George going to the Lakers has picked up a lot of steam and continues as we head into summer, it’s one of the hottest topics in the league despite the league’s Conference Finals getting under way. With that said, could the Lakers trade Russell and other players to Indiana for George? It seems like they could if George expresses major interest in the Lakers and puts the pressure on the Indiana Pacers by saying he will opt out of his contract next year if not traded.
George went on the Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week and said that he expects to work out and talk with Laker legend Kobe Bryant this summer and if I’m a Laker fan, that’s a good sign.
“I plan to work out with him, pick his brain a little bit. I’m training now to get ready to work out with him.”
Also, with rumors out there since the trade deadline saying that George has no intentions in re-signing with the Pacers, it’s hard to believe that the Lakers are not number one on his list. Especially with him going to college near LA at Fresno State and living there for the majority of the summer and being seen at places like Disney Land multiple times, it seems as if it would be a match made in heaven. However, if the Paul George thing doesn’t end up working out, who’s to say the Lakers will not pursue other big named free agents?
With Chris Paul being a free agent and basically being a Laker a few years ago before the famous “vetoed trade” by David Stern, who’s to say Magic and the Lakers won’t make a run at one of the most talented point guards of this era after proving he still has a lot left in the tank with what he did this past season in the playoffs. Obviously, with Paul playing for the Clippers, it’s not that he would go through a major change and would just have to change locker rooms at the Staples Center. If that doesn’t work out, they could look into trading for Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler.
With Bulls management still not 100% sold on having Butler being the face of the organization and wanting to head in the direction with him at the head of it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t at least make the call to try and stir up some interest. Last offseason, Bulls GM, Gar Forman, came out and said the team wanted to get younger and more athletic. Well, the Lakers have a ton of young, athletic players who can be viewed as great trade pieces for the Bulls and give them exactly what they wanted before they signed guard Rajon Rondo and brought home 35-year-old, Dwyane Wade.
Even though these situations don’t seem likely at the moment, there’s also the shot of convincing Jazz forward, Gordon Hayward, to come over this summer and sign him to a deal. Even though it seems likely that he will either stay or head to Boston, knowing Magic Johnson, anything is possible and in the playing field with him running the show again for the Lakers.
Overall, the Lakers have many key decisions that are facing them within the next few weeks. Even though it seems their pick for the draft is set, you never know what could happen in the coming weeks. With that as well, what will happen with the Paul Geroge siutation? Will the Lakers trade their pick for him? Will they trade other players for him once free agency hits? If the George thing doesn’t work out, who would they go after next? It’s these type of questions that the Lakers have to and will answer within the next few weeks. Keep in mind of the NBA draft on June 22, because that’s going to be one of the most important days for the Lakers in terms of what direction they’ll be heading in under Magic’s leadership.