As 2019 NBA free agency is officially underway, general manager Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers are waiting for Kawhi Leonard with their max-contact slot.
With the landscape of the NBA changing, the Lakers made the first significant move when they traded for Anthony Davis just two days following the 2019 NBA Finals.
While the Davis trade will not be completed until July 6, it appears he is ready for his next chapter in Los Angeles.
For Davis, he only has one goal for the 2019-20 NBA season, according to Arash Markazi of Los Angeles Times:
“My goal is to win a championship,” Davis said. “I expect to win every time I step on the court, every game. I want to win a title. That’s what it’s about — winning titles. That’s the only thing on my mind.”
Davis also spoke extremely highly about the city of Los Angeles and the weather, according to Markazi:
“The weather is amazing. The city fits me,” Davis told The Times in his first interview since being traded. “It’s more slow motion, and that’s kind of how I am. … I live out here in the summers. L.A. is one of my favorite cities. I love to live here. ”
Although it took five months, the Lakers finally landed their second All-Star player alongside LeBron James. While it is difficult to trade the entire young core except for Davis, he fits perfectly with the team’s short- and long-term goals.
In Davis’ first decision as a Laker, he waived his $4 million trade kicker to help them re-establish their $32 million cap space. Regardless of what happens in free agency, he showed his commitment to the team, city, and fanbase.
With Davis and James, the Lakers are expected to be a championship contender for at least the next 2-3 seasons. While the team’s potential targets are signing with other teams, that was the risk of waiting for Leonard.
As former president of basketball Magic Johnson spoke to Leonard and his camp, there is optimism following the first day after free agency. If Leonard wants to win, playing with two of the five best players in the league is easily his best opportunity if he does not re-sign with the Toronto Raptors.