Lakers’ Free Agency Hangs on AD!
The Los Angeles Lakers’ hopes to sign a max contract superstar in free agency may be dependent on trading for Anthony Davis
While the Los Angeles Lakers’ hopes of signing Anthony Davis appear to be soaring, their hopes of being able to sign a third superstar in free agency may be dwindling as other teams focus their attention from Davis to free agency.
The NBA landscape seemed destined for a major upheaval in a transcendent summer that could see more superstar player movement than ever before. There were as many as six legitimate free agent superstars possibly leaving. Even Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, arguably the top two players in the league, whose generational play carried their teams to this year’s NBA Finals, were potentially poised to leave the best teams in the league for free agency.
But the wave of superstars opting for free agency is suddenly looking smaller. Kevin Durant’s untimely unfortunate injury could motivate him to remain and re-sign with the Golden State Warriors and Kawhi Leonard’s looming championship might be enough to convince him to stay and re-sign with the Toronto Raptors. Kemba Walker earning third team All-NBA status has now made him eligible to sign a supermax contract with the Charlotte Hornets.
Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors are almost a lock to offer a maximum contract to Klay Thompson while the Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly close to reaching an agreement to re-sign superstar Jimmy Butler to a max salary. And while Kyrie Irving appears certain to leave the Boston Celtics, the New Jersey nets appear just as certain he’s going to join them, having traded Allen Crabbe to the Atlanta Hawks in a salary dump to clear space to sign him.
Should all the above moves happen, the Los Angeles Lakers may once again find themselves with no place to sit in the NBA’s annual free agent version of musical chairs as the league’s six top free agent superstars end up elsewhere. That would leave the Lakers in the same unfortunate position as last summer, when they opted to fill out their roster with veteran players on one-year deals to preserve their cap space to chase superstars in free agency this summer.
That would be a bitter pill for the Lakers to swallow, landing one but missing out the opportunity to sign a second superstar for the second year in a row. Last year, they signed LeBron James but couldn’t close the deal by signing PG. This year, they’re probably going to trade for AD but could potentially again fail to close the deal by signing a superstar like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, or Jimmy Butler in free agency.
What this analysis highlights is just how critically urgent trading for Anthony Davis is to the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. Should the Lakers fail to trade for Anthony Davis, they could very easily strike out completely in free agency. On the other hand, should the Lakers succeed in trading for Anthony Davis, that could be the move that changes the dynamic in free agency as LeBron James and Anthony Davis would instantly make them a premier destination.
Suddenly, Kyrie Irving might find teaming up with LeBron and AD on the Lakers much more attractive than teaming up with KD on the Brooklyn Nets. Or Jimmy Butler might decide that playing with LeBron and Davis on the Lakers would be better than staying in Philly with Embiid and Simmons. Or maybe Kawhi Leonard would change his mind and opt to leave cold winters and come home to L.A. but to play for the Lakers rather than the Clippers.
Bottom line, the Lakers cannot blow the opportunity to trade for Anthony Davis. That’s the move that would not only guarantee the Lakers a second superstar to go with LeBron but unlock the doors for success in free agency.
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