It’s well-known that the Los Angeles Lakers intend to be major players on the free agent market this summer. Thanks to a series of moves made by president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, the team has the most salary cap space available.
The Lakers have long been rumored to covet superstars LeBron James and Paul George. Of course, the team’s public pursuit of top-flight players hasn’t been without challenges, including a pair of tampering charges for discussing players under contract with other teams.
When asked about the possibility of playing alongside James on “Undisputed With Skip And Shannon,” Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma deftly avoided the question and the potential charges that could have come from it:
“I’m not saying that. I’m just saying from the situation that we came from, that he’s a better player right now. I don’t want to get tampering fines or anything. We go through that a lot in L.A.”
While it’s unlikely that Kuzma would have actually been fined for discussing James, given the Lakers’ track record lately, it probably wasn’t a bad idea to be careful. With what he did say, however, it’s clear that Kuzma wouldn’t be disappointed if James were indeed to wind up with the team.
There are plenty of questions regarding how James, who will turn 34 next season, would fit on this young Lakers roster, but it’s players like Kuzma that would help ease the transition. After all, James is one of the best basketball minds in the game today, and his physical talents have not yet begun to decline.
Given the versatility of Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and others, James would certainly find ways to be successful, even if the fit isn’t a natural one on paper. It will be up to Johnson and Pelinka to convince James that these young Lakers are ready to make the leap with just a little superstar-level help from himself and perhaps George as well.
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