This might come as a surprise to you, but the Los Angeles Lakers still fully intend on pursuing meetings with LeBron James and Paul George once the free agency moratorium starts on July 1. Shocking, I know.
During an appearance ESPNLA’s “Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge & LZ,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed that the Lakers will go ahead with their plan of pursuing George and James this upcoming summer.
“We know who they’re going after ... everyone’s known it, and it hasn’t changed,” Wojnarowski said of George and James. “They want to get both of them, they hope they can get one of them, and if they can’t get either, then they’re looking at probably doing one-year deals with Isaiah Thomas or Brook Lopez.”
None of this comes as a surprise to Lakers fans. The front office did everything in their power to have the financial flexibility to sign two max free agents this summer. Depending on how much they value their own free agents, they might not be done making moves to open up cap space.
Combined, George and James will take up $66.3 million in cap space. The Lakers can have up to $69 million if they renounce the rights to Julius Randle and stretch Luol Deng’s contract. However, if they want to include Randle in their future plans, they could try and trade Deng’s contract without taking salary back, which would give the Lakers an extra $18 million to spend on Randle and perhaps a few more of their own free agents like Brook Lopez or Isaiah Thomas.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder far from guaranteed to make it out of the first rounds of their respective playoffs series, these talks could heat up sooner than expected. The free agency moratorium begins on July 1.
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