The Los Angeles Lakers head into the offseason with more salary cap space at their disposal than any other team. It should bode well for the small group of superstar free agents on their shopping list.
The Lakers will hope to sign at least one, if not two of their top targets, with most rumors focusing on LeBron James and Paul George. James is still powering the Cleveland Cavaliers through the NBA playoffs but George’s Oklahoma City Thunder fell to the Utah Jazz in the first round.
The Thunder’s early exit led to more speculation that George would be on his way out the door when free agency begins. As a Southern California native, the Lakers have long been considered a likely landing spot for George.
In a piece for the Washington Post, Tim Bontemps revealed that the Thunder’s first-round exit has only made the Lakers even more of a perceived favorite to sign him in July:
Ask people today – particularly in the wake of this first-round exit – and they’ll say the Lakers still remain the favorites to get him this summer.
If the Lakers are able to sign George they will add a player with superstar talent that could push the team back into the playoffs in the Western Conference. Adding him to the roster also wouldn’t hurt the teams’ efforts to bring in a second star, since in this day and age most of the top players in the league want to play together.
On the court, George would be a perfect fit with the young Lakers. His ability to defend multiple positions would mesh perfectly with head coach Luke Walton’s switch-happy scheme. If the Lakers can re-sign restricted free agent Julius Randle, a lineup featuring him, George, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma would be able to defend every position on the floor.
Offensively, George’s ability to shoot from behind the three-point line would be a great fit for a team that struggled from there last season. Additionally, his ability to be a go-to scorer would be a welcome sight in close games.
It’s going to be an important summer for the Lakers but signing George would be a big step forward in their rebuilding process.
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