Heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers have dominated the headlines with what may happen in the offseason. Along with potentially signing both LeBron James and Paul George with their two max-contract slots in free agency, the Lakers could make a play forKawhi Leonard who reportedly wants out from the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s believed Leonard has a strong preference to return to his hometown team. In order for the Lakers to turn this dream scenario into a reality, it will likely come down to James’ decision.
As Los Angeles is considered the betting favorite to sign the 33-year-old, there will be plenty of competition from teams such as the Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers.
During an appearance on “NBA Draft: On The Clock,” Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN provided an update about James’ upcoming decision:
“I think there’s a sense that he is going to take his time in July and that this is not going to be a quick decision. I think he has more to consider this year than any of the others and there are more moving pieces. He could walk into L.A., he could walk into Philadelphia, obviously could stay in Cleveland. But if he wanted to get more creative and try to find a way to get to Houston, to get to a team like Boston who doesn’t have the salary cap space, then those teams have to start tearing apart their roster to create space or try to work a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland. But free agency will largely be at a standstill until LeBron James makes his decision.”
As James enters the final chapter of his career, he has stated his family will play a ‘huge part’ in his decision.
That could bode well for the Lakers since the four-time MVP has multiple houses in the Los Angeles area and there have been reports of his oldest son enrolling in a local high school.
For Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka, there is a lot of pressure to deliver on their vision. While landing two or three All-Star players would make the Lakers instant championship contenders, continuing to develop the young core remains a plan that sets the storied franchise up for sustained success.
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