The Los Angeles Lakers made arguably the most important addition of the offseason when they found out they’d keep their top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft on Tuesday, jumping up to second-overall.
According to Magic Johnson, that pick may be their only big addition this summer.
"I don't think we're going to be a major player this year. I'm looking forward to next summer,” Johnson told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times when asked about free agency, a sentiment that jives with Johnson’s comments last week that the team wants to preserve cap space for 2018.
The Lakers will have upwards of $20 million in cap space this offseason and can squeeze their way to enough room to offer a player a near max contract if they get creative, but it certainly seems like that isn’t the primary goal for Johnson and Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka.
Now, those two saying they don’t want to jump headfirst into free agency doesn’t necessarily mean the Lakers won’t make big moves this summer. There have been rumors about the team looking to add Paul George of the Indiana Pacers since the most recent trade deadline, and the second-overall pick is just another asset that could help grease the wheels in such a transaction.
That being said, just about every public comment this current front office has made has implied they’re willing to be patient with this young core. Whether that’s genuine sentiment or an attempt to gain leverage in trade talks is unknown, but for now it appears safe to assume the Lakers like where their rebuild is going and are happy to continue to supplement it, rather than blowing it up.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.