After falling short of expectations in their first season with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers will look to shake up their roster this summer.
While many expect them to re-engage in trade talks for Anthony Davis using their lottery pick as a sweetener during the offseason, it appears they’re focusing on improving their roster via free agency.
During an appearance on ESPN LA 710’s “The Sedano Show,” Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that the Lakers have made it known to coaching candidates that their plan is mainly centered on making a big splash in free agency:
“I’ve heard that some of the discussion that the coaching candidates have had with Lakers management has been (directed) more-so towards their plans for free agency this summer versus their plans to change their roster via trade. And so, if they’re not going to go for a roster-shaping trade this year and it’s gotta be through free agency... you either show up or you don’t. And if you don’t, the consequence is: It could create a really tough situation to live in if you’re LeBron James. So I think precarious is the best way to describe (the situation).”
Now, there are two ways to look at this:
- The Lakers are confident they can get one of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler or Kemba walker to pair with James and their young core OR
- The Lakers have received word that there’s no chance the New Orleans Pelicans are trading Davis to Los Angeles, which is believed to be his preferred destination.
Either way, they have roughly $38 million to blow, and their window to spend it ends this summer. The question is: What happens if the Lakers completely strike out in free agency?
Do they fill out their roster with big money, one-year deals again? Would they trade a few of their young players for a non-Davis All-Star like Bradley Beal, Blake Griffin or Mike Conley? Does LeBron James consider requesting a trade to a legitimate title contender at that point if he continues to lose trust in the organization?
No one has any idea, which is why it’s so important for the Lakers to strike gold in free agency this summer. If they don’t, they might be forced to make a few tough decisions sooner rather than later.