NBA free agency is heating up. The rumors are in full force, especially with the Lakers. Talks between the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers on Kawhi Leonard are intensifying. LeBron James has also officially declined his player option for next season making him an unrestricted free agent. Paul George did the same with his player option yesterday, as he is also an unrestricted free agent. Those three names: LeBron, PG13, and Kawhi have been rumored to the Los Angeles Lakers. But, is it possible for L.A. to get all three of them to create a new super team to contend with the Warriors? The short answer is yes. Let’s get into how the Lakers can get LeBron, Kawhi, and PG13.
The Lakers have to blow up the entire roster and then some to land these three stars. The first thing the Lakers would have to do is use the stretch provision on Luol Deng. The stretch provision would reduce Deng’s cap to $7.4 million this season. However, there is a downside to stretching Deng. Using the stretch option on Deng means L.A. would pay him the $7.4 million per year through the 2022/23 season. Yikes.
After L.A. stretches Deng, they literally have to renounce every cap hold they have this summer and trade their entire roster so nothing is left. If the Lakers were to do this, they would have enough money to trade for Kawhi Leonard, sign LeBron, and sign Paul George. However, one of LeBron or George would have to take a $400,000 paycut to make it work, which shouldn’t be a problem. If for some reason the Lakers wind up with these three stars, they would now need to fulfill over 10 open roster spots with guys on minimum deals. Who are some possibilities?
Players like Lance Stephenson, Jamal Crawford, Corey Brewer, Dante Cunningham, Devin Harris, Quincy Acy, Ersan Ilyasova, Greg Monroe, Marco Belinelli, and Michael Beasley could be viable minimum players. However, do these players surround the new L.A. big three with enough talent to beat Golden State?
The Lakers can theoretically acquire a new big three, but it comes at a cost. The Lakers might not be able to surround the big three with enough talent to beat the Warriors anyway. So, it might be smarter to go hard after two guys and surround them with quality role players.