The Los Angeles Lakers will have a mountain of cap space at their disposal this summer, which has fueled rumors that they will chase not one but two superstar free agents. With names like Paul George and LeBron James available, the Lakers could be in a position to get back in the title hunt as soon as next season.
While free agency doesn’t begin until July and teams are prohibited from tampering with players under contract to other organizations (something the Lakers know all too well), that doesn’t prevent fans from getting an early start on the recruitment process.
Billboards have already gone up attempting to woo LeBron James in Los Angeles, following suit with what was done by a Philadelphia 76ers fan in the Cleveland area.
The Lakers fan behind the Los Angeles movement, Jacob Emrani, told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN he has tentative plans for billboards to recruit George as well:
“This is a first. If this goes well, I’m planning to do the same thing for Paul George sometime down the road,” Emrani said.
If the Lakers are able to land both George and James, the expectations for the team will go through the roof. The rebuild will officially be over and they will have to transition into a win-now mode, which could potentially mean the exit of some of the young players they have been building around.
For one, should George and James both accept max deals, that would make retaining free-agent-to-be Julius Randle extremely difficult. While he is headed for restricted free agency, the Lakers most likely wouldn’t have the cap space available to match the kind of contract offer that he would get.
Of course, for a team that has been mired in a rebuilding period for years now and has been desperately searching for a superstar to sit upon the throne vacated by Kobe Bryant, perhaps the cost would be worth it.
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