With 2019 NBA free agency approaching, the Los Angeles Lakers have a max-contract slot available in hopes of signing a second All-Star player.
As it currently stands, it appears the top free agents will either re-sign with their respective teams or sign elsewhere. Based on this assumption, the Lakers may have to explore options with their young core and No. 4 pick.
While all of the attention will naturally be on Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, Bradley Beal reportedly may be available depending on what direction the new Washington Wizards general manager ultimately takes.
Along with Davis and Beal, Chris Paul could be a ‘face-saving trade target’ if the Lakers strike out, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News:
Charlotte and Miami are among the teams that could be interested in Paul. Phoenix is weighing its options at point guard, but there is an outside chance they’d get involved. And keep an eye on the Lakers or Knicks – it’s likely that one of them will strike out in free agency and need a face-saving trade to rescue the summer. Paul is a face-saving trade target.
After the Houston Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors, they are making their entire roster available, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The possibility of trading All-NBA guard James Harden is believed to be extremely limited, but the rest of the roster — including even Chris Paul and Clint Capela — could be more realistic trade targets, sources said.
For two teams that did not meet expectations during the 2018-19 NBA season, these are the potential consequences of not winning. While the Lakers envisioned signing two All-Star players to add to the young core, they may have to end up trading more prospects to reach their two-year goal.
While Paul is one of the greatest point guards of all time, it would be difficult to trade for him at this stage of his career. At 34-years-old and dealing with injuries, he will be entering the second year of a four-year, $159.7 million deal.
As there are multiple scenarios to improve the roster around LeBron James in Year 2, the hope is general manager Rob Pelinka makes smart decisions. At this stage, winning is the easiest path to creating stability within the Lakers.