The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a huge summer in 2017, but the front office has even bigger plans for 2018 in mind. The Lakers are reportedly confident they will sign a veteran star during free agency next summer, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.
The timetable makes sense for the Lakers, who don’t appear to be in position to make a splash this summer. Their focus, instead, is on making the right choice with what they do with the No. 2 pick, as well as instilling a new culture with their new leaders in Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka.
This also lines up with what head coach Luke Walton said regarding trading for a star now, pointing to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors as reason for teams to focus on developing from within in the meantime.
Johnson has been modest about his projections for free agency, even mentioning he views 2018 as the big year for Los Angeles already. Ford’s rumblings spell out that Magic’s positive vibes about next summer are very real.
Here’s what Ford had to say about the Lakers’ mindset heading into the draft (via ESPN Insider):
From what I'm hearing, it sounds like the Lakers are unwilling to trade their pick if it means dropping out of the top five spots in the draft. They want to get at least one young player with star potential out of this draft, and feel confident they can acquire a veteran star during free agency in 2018.
Considering Magic was also suspiciously confident about the NBA Draft lottery last month, maybe he’s onto something.