Lakers’ Best Superstar Big Three?
Ranking the opportunities for the Los Angeles Lakers to build a superstar big three with LeBron James and Anthony Davis
There’s no doubt the Los Angeles Lakers’ grand plan is to come out of a mega trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis with cap space to sign a max salary free agent and parley the moves to build a Superstar Big Three.
While it’s too early to assume the Lakers will be the winners of the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, they must be considered favorites as this point in time. The Celtics, Knicks, and Nets, who were their primary competitors, now seem to be focused on building around their current cores or chasing free agents. While an unexpected trade partner could suddenly emerge, it’s unlikely the Pelicans will fall prey to the mistakes the Spurs made and make a bad deal.
It’s also not a sure thing that the Lakers will be able to sign a third superstar in free agency as many of the available candidates like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Jimmy Butler might decide to re-sign with their current teams or pair up with a second superstar and sign with the Clippers, Knicks, or Nets. But the opportunity to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers and play with LeBron James and Anthony Davis could be irresistible to someone.
With that in mind, here is my ranking of the opportunities the Los Angeles Lakers could have to build a Superstar Big Three should they succeed in trading for Anthony Davis and retaining cap space to sign a max player:
- LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard.
Make no mistake, this would clearly be the Lakers’ ultimate Superstar Big Three since it would include three of the top-five players in the world and arguably give the Lakers an elite small forward, power forward, and center. It’s could also be a long shot since most rumors have Kawhi re-signing with the Raptors or joining the Clippers rather than Lakers. However Kawhi just might find coming home to L.A. to play with LeBron and AD irresistible.
2. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyrie Irving.
This is probably the Lakers’ second best and most realistic option to build a Superstar Big Three. LeBron and Kyrie are a proven championship duo and the NBA has become a guard driven league. Joining LeBron and AD could also be a more better option for Kyrie than joining the Nets or Knicks and playing with a bunch of kids and no second superstar like in Boston. Should the Lakers keep Lonzo, he and Kyrie could form a formidable backcourt.
3. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Jimmy Butler.
This is another option that’s not only realistic but could also be a better fit for the Lakers positionally and defensively with LeBron and AD than Kyrie Irving. Butler would also be a great fit alongside Lonzo Ball in the Lakers’ backcourt. While Jimmy is not the elite three-point shooter that Kyrie is, he’s a far better defender and performed terrifically in the clutch for the 76ers in the playoffs. Bottom line, Butler might be the perfect fit to build a Superstar Big Three.
4. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Nikola Vucevic.
LeBron, AD, and Vucevic might not qualify to some as a Superstar Big Three but it could be a great option if the Lakers strike out with the bigger names. Nikola Vucevic could be the next Brook Lopez, a solid traditional center who can rebound, protect the rim, and can shoot a high percentage from deep. As a bonus, the Lakers might be able to sign him for around $25 million per year, leaving them with $7 to $8 million to upgrade their starting lineup or bench.
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