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Podcast: Would Julius Randle, Lonzo Ball or other young Lakers be ready to play with LeBron James?

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Playing with no expectations as they have the last few years is quite different from playing with LeBron James, Paul George or whoever signs with the Lakers in free agency.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

For the last five years, the Los Angeles Lakers have played basically devoid of expectations, relatively speaking. Wins and losses haven’t mattered nearly as much as the young core’s development. If LeBron James and/or Paul George sign this summer, those days are over.

Would any of the young Lakers be ready for that?

Let’s start the conversation with a trend I’ve noticed on Twitter.

A pervasive point of view regarding James’ decision this summer is how the Lakers even with him and George would still struggle to be much more than second-round fodder for teams like the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors. Pete and I gave some reasons as to why that analysis is a little too reductive.

For starters, the Lakers would quite literally have to add players to the roster beyond James and George so as to meet the 13-player minimum requirement.

Beyond that, we discuss how the young core is also going to improve from where they were last season. Yes, the Lakers are coming off of a 35-win season, but that had a lot to do with injuries to Lonzo Ball, Brook Lopez and other players, as well as quite a few close losses that could have swung the other way had the Lakers gotten a couple bounces over the course of those games, or just had a little more experience.

This market will also force solid role players to take deals below their market value. So if that might be the case, why not do that for a Lakers team in contention and featuring talents like LeBron James and Paul George?

Lastly, we discuss how LeBron probably wouldn’t sign in Los Angeles without some kind of understanding about another star he’d like to play with even beyond one that he might be signing alongside this summer.

As per usual, you can listen to the full conversation below and if you don’t want to miss future episodes, make sure to subscribe on iTunes.