The Los Angeles Lakers have their sights set on a third All-Star player heading into free agency on June 30.
After the Anthony Davis trade, they hope it can land someone like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, or Kemba Walker to complete a trio of stars to build around.
However, thanks to that Davis trade, they don’t have quite the max-contract slot they originally had, but the front office is confident it can clear some more out should another All-Star player want to join. If they can’t secure that third All-Star player, they will have to move elsewhere to fill out the roster and former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has some thoughts on who they could go after.
According to Bill Oram of The Athletic, Johnson listed some role players he believes the Lakers could pursue if they miss out on landing a big name:
Johnson suggested more players the Lakers could pursue in such a scenario: Portland’s Seth Curry, Milwaukee’s Nikola Mirotic, Philadelphia’s J.J. Redick and Toronto’s Danny Green.
One thing that all of these players have in common is their ability to shoot the basketball. Seth Curry, JJ Redick, and Danny Green all shot over 40% from three-point range in their careers while Mirotic has long been above-average from deep as well. Three-point shooting has been an issue for the Lakers and spacing the floor around Davis and LeBron James should be a priority.
There will be others the Lakers could pursue as well and Johnson believes the franchise can’t look down on their offseason if they fail to land that third All-Star player:
“There’s guys like that,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of guys. So we can’t be just saying, ‘Hey if we don’t get Kemba, if we don’t get so and so, it was a disaster.’ No. You’ve still got to fill out a lot of these roster spots.”
Some would argue the Lakers would be better off simply focusing on those types of role players and building some depth as opposed to chasing another All-Star player, which would leave them with only minimum salaries to fill out the remainder of the roster. Surely some players would be willing to take pay cuts to join the Lakers in such a scenario, but depth would be a big problem.
Players such as Patrick Beverley and Brook Lopez have also been mentioned as potential signings so there are plenty of quality players they could add to Davis, James, and Kyle Kuzma even if they miss out on their top targets. Putting the right players around them could be the difference between a playoff appearance and a championship.