For the first time since the start of the rebuilding process, the Los Angeles Lakers are considered a legitimate free agent destination.
Armed with a competitive young core and ample cap space for two max contract players, the storied franchise has been linked with LeBron James and Paul George throughout the 2017-18 NBA season.
Although the Lakers did not reach their goal of making it to the playoffs, they won 35 games, which was a nine-game improvement from the previous season and in Year 2 under head coach Luke Walton.
On UNDISPUTED, Kyle Kuzma discussed the team’s playoff chances next season even if they do not sign James or George:
“Honestly, I think we could’ve made the playoffs this year. For instance, we won 35 games. We had a lot of games at the beginning of the year that we didn’t know how to win that were right here and we just didn’t grab. So, for us, I don’t see why we can’t. Even if we add [somebody] or not.”
Prior to president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka taking over the front office, the Lakers simply became too reliant on landing a superstar free agent and ultimately struck out.
Fortunately, they have drafted extremely well, especially with their late-first and early-second round picks.
With free agency less than two months away, Kuzma and the Lakers’ young core have the right mindset. Instead of waiting for James or George, they are controlling their own destiny by improving their individual games and wanting to develop into the superstars the Lakers are looking for.