Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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One of the litany of rumors regarding LeBron James and his likely unrestricted free agency this summer that fans of the Cleveland Cavaliers have heard over and over and over and over is, “LeBron is going to the Lakers.”
However, according to a report, the Lakers front office is shifting its focus from the 2018 offseason to 2019.
The report by Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN says the team will still look to be buyers this summer, but its focus will be more on 2019.
“The Lakers aren’t abandoning a summer pursuit of stars, but rather they are recalibrating their focus on a 2019 class that could include San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler,” according to the report.
Circumstances across the NBA landscape have played a huge part in the Lakers organization choosing to shift its main focus, the report says.
“The belief has been that the Lakers were cutting an unapologetic path to salary-cap freedom for two maximum contract slots this July, clearing the way toward a pursuit of superstars like Cleveland’s LeBron James, Oklahoma City’s Paul George and New Orleans’ DeMarcus Cousins,” it reads. “Now, Cousins has a torn Achilles’ tendon, George has suggested to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that the Thunder have an advantage in re-signing him, and James is believed to have a reluctance toward signing with the Lakers without an established star immediately joining him.”
The NBA’s looming trade deadline (Thursday, 3 p.m.) and the continued development of the Lakers’ young core of players have combined in coming to this decision, according to to the report.
“Pushing back a year on big-game hunting in free agency could serve two purposes: It could alleviate the urgency to unload contracts at Thursday’s trade deadline and around the June NBA draft that could require the Lakers to attach future draft assets as incentives,” the story says, “and it could allow the Lakers’ talented young core — including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — to further develop and become more attractive for veteran stars to join.”