The Lakers’ Offseason Big Board!
Ranking the major free agency and player trade options that might be available for the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason
As maligned and dysfunctional as the Lakers’ front office has been over the last few years, they still find themselves perfectly positioned with an amazing array of free agency and trade options to become championship contenders.
Here’s my personal big board ranking of the Lakers’ major offseason options.
The top five options on my Big Board are superstar players who will require a max contract to sign with the Lakers or any team. The sixth and seventh players are superstars the Lakers would likely have to trade three of their four young stars to acquire. The eighth player is one for whom the Lakers would have to save their cap space until next summer. The ninth through fifteenth players on my Big Board are stars who’d demand more than $20 million to sign as free agents.
- Sign Kevin Durant. There’s no greater move the Lakers could make to catapult them into championship contention than signing 30-year old Kevin Durant to be Batman to LeBron James’ Superman. The Lakers would immediately be odds on favorites to win multiple championships over the next three seasons. It would also mark the first time in history that the top two players in the league would be playing on the same team.
2019: 26.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists in 34.6 minutes per game.
- Sign Kawhi Leonard. This is a close second to signing Kevin Durant. 27-year old Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way superstar in the league and has shown everybody he’s completely recovered from his quad injury. While Kawhi wouldn’t elevate the Lakers to the elite offensive level that Kevin would, his impact at the other end of the court would likely transform the Lakers into one of the best defensive teams in the league.
2019: 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 34.0 minutes per game.
- Sign Kyrie Irving. There’s probably nothing closer a sure thing in the NBA than reuniting 27-year old Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on a Lakers team coached by Tyronn Lue and boasting a four young stars primed to break out. In a league that’s more and more a guards’ league, signing Kyrie would instantly vault the Lakers into the stratosphere of elite teams and make them perennial favorites to win multiple NBA championships.
2019: 23.8 points,6.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists in 33.0 minutes per game.
- Sign Klay Thompson. This would be a long shot as Klay Thompson has consistently stated he has no desire to change teams and top tier shooters and defenders like the 29-year old Thompson are a rarity. The only way Thompson might end up leaving is if the Warriors foolishly tried to get him to take a discount. In that event, the Lakers would immediately be the favorites considering his father Mychal Thompson is a Lakers broadcaster.
2019: 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists in 34.0 minutes per game.
- Sign Kemba Walker. The only thing that’s missing from 28-year old Kemba Walker’s resume is playoff experience. As a proficient and prolific three-point shooter, Kemba’s a perfect fit for the three-point desperate Lakers. On a playoff level team like the Lakers playing alongside LeBron James, Kemba would be a dynamic scorer and playmaker and would quickly shed his unfairly earned moniker as a poor man’s Kyrie Irving.
2019: 25.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.9 assists in 34.0 minutes per game.
- Trade for Anthony Davis. If the Lakers can’t sign a top five free agent this summer, they should force the Pels to trade the 26-year old Anthony Davis by signing multiple role players to short term deals to save cap space to sign him as a free agent next summer. Since the Lakers don’t have the salaries to match Davis’ $27 million, they’d have to sacrifice part of their $38 million cap space but would still have $18 to $22 million remaining.
2019: 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists in 33.0 minutes per game.
- Trade for Bradley Beal. If the Lakers strike out with top five free agents and can’t trade for AD, their next best option would be to make a trade with the Wizards for 26-year old Bradley Beal. Beal’s a prolific three-point shooter with a 38.4% career percentage who also fills the stat sheet. Since Beal won’t be a free agent next year, trading for him would likely cost the Lakers the same as AD, leaving them with $18 to 22 million in cap space.
2019: 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists in 36.9 minutes per game.
- Wait for Anthony Davis. If the Lakers can’t sign a top superstar, force an AD trade, or pull off a Bradley Beal trade this summer, their best option might be then to wait to sign Anthony Davis as a free agent next summer. While this sounds like kicking the can down the road one more time, there are many elite role players available as free agents this summer the Lakers could overpay by signing to short term contracts to save their cap space.
2019: 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists in 33.0 minutes per game.
- Sign Khris Middleton. With the Lakers desperate for willing and capable three-point shooters, the 27-year old Khris Middleton would be a perfect fit at small forward and for playing with LeBron James. Khris made 179 out of 474 threes for 37.8% this season. He’s also an excellent rebounder and playmaker. While he wouldn’t demand a max contract, the Lakers would likely need to offer $25 to $28 million to steal him from Milwaukee.
2019: 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists in 31.1 minutes per game
- Sign Tobias Harris. Not as prolific but more accurate from deep than Middleton, the 26-year old Tobias Harris would also be a great fit for the three-point needy Lakers and with LeBron. Tobias made 156 out of 393 threes for 39.7%. He’s a better rebounder but not as good a playmaker or defender as Khris. Like Middleton, the Lakers would probably have to pay Harris between $25 to $28 million to steal him away from Philadelphia.
2019: 20.0 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists in 34.7 minutes per game.
- Sign Jimmy Butler. There’s no more clutch scorer available this summer than Jimmy Buckets. However, age, mileage, and baggage as a difficult teammate would likely limit the 29-year old Butler from earning more than $25 million. Jimmy also is not as prolific or accurate a three-point shooter as Middleton or Harris so he’s not as good a fit with LeBron. What helps his case is Jimmy is a far superior defender than Khris or Tobias.
2019: 18.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists in 33.6 minutes per game.
- Sign Nikola Vucevic. For a Lakers team that needs better three-point shooting, adding a stretch five like the 28-year old Nikola Vucevic would be a savvy move. Nikola made 84 out of 231 threes for 36.4%, which was the fourth most for a center playing at least 20 minutes per game. He also averaged 1 block and 1.1 steals per game. Vucevic would likely cost the Lakers $22 to $25 million per year to steal him from the Orlando Magic.
2019: 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists in 31.4 minutes per game.
- Sign DeMarcus Cousins. After suffering a second major season ending injury, the 27-year old DeMarcus Cousins is another player who will likely only be able to get a two-year contract with a second year team option. Signing Boogie would be a huge gamble considering he has suffered major season ending injuries two years in a row. Assuming he was healthy, the Lakers might be willing to gamble and offer DeMarcus $15 to $18 million.
2019: 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists in 25.7 minutes per game.
2018: 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds, 5.4 assists in 36.2 minutes per game.
- Sign J.J. Redick. While he’s 34-years old, J.J. Redick is still one of the best three-point shooters in the game, making 240 of 605 threes for 39.7%. He would be a perfect addition to play alongside LeBron James. Because of his age, the Lakers would probably be hesitant to offer Redick more than a 2-year deal with a second year team option. They would probably need to overpay him with an offer around $20 million to pry him from the Sixers.
2019: 18.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 31.3 minutes per game.
- Sign Brook Lopez. Letting Brook Lopez go in free agency last summer was one of the Lakers biggest mistakes. With the Bucks, the 31-year old Lopez basically redefined what a 7-foot center could do from long range, making 187 out of 512 threes for 36.5%. No other center came close to taking or making as many threes. Earning just $3.4 million last season from the Bucks, the Lakers could steal Brook with an offer of $10 million.
2019: 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists in 28.7 minutes per game.
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