The Los Angeles Lakers are primed to be big players in the offseason once the curtain drops on the playoffs.
Boasting a young, talented group of players, well stocked for the draft and the most cap space in the league to chase free agents, the Lakers could finally emerge from their lengthy rebuild.
Widespread rumors having the Lakers pursuing LeBron James and Paul George this summer.
However, LakersPresident of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson doesn’t believe putting together a “Big Three” is essential to building a championship-contending team in today’s NBA.
“We had to show that we have really good young players, and we did that,” Johnson told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. “That’s what guys and their agents want to see: ‘If I put my talent with your talent, can we win?’ I think we proved you can.”
Johnson, who played with the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy for the Showtime Lakers, pointed to Kyrie Irving’s impact on the Boston Celtics as an example of how a team can be transformed without constructing a Big Three, as was done this season by Oklahoma City.
“Kyrie Irving got with young, talented players,” Johnson said. “It’s not that you have to have a Big Three anymore. You have to have young horses to go with a superstar or two.”
Even if the Lakers cannot lure James and George, or even one of them, they could be in position to put together an attractive trade package if the San Antonio Spurs decide their relationship with two-time first-team All-NBA performer Kawhi Leonard cannot be salvaged.
Looking forward, the 2019 free-agent class has the possibility of being starstudded with likes of Leonard, Irving and Klay Thompson hitting the open market should they opt to not sign extensions with the Celtics, Spurs and Golden State Warriors, respectively.