Teams aren’t lining up the help the Los Angeles Lakers to construct a possible superteam, which is not surprising, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
For example, the Lakers, who strive to create enough salary-cap room to offer to max deals to players this summer and who are the preferred landing spot of Kawhi Leonard, were looking to deal for a pick early in the second round of the draft Thursday night.
However, Los Angeles could not find a willing trade partner.
“So it’s not like teams are saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do a deal with the Lakers,’” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “But I do think when you have 16 banners, there’s going to be a natural envy from your competitors because you’re sitting at the top of the food chain, but that’s just life in general.”
That comes on the heels of a report that the Lakers contacted the San Antonio Spurs last week regarding Leonard’s availability, but the Spurs rebuffed the inquiry and “basically shut the door” on any discussions about a trade for Leonard, who is not happy with how the Spurs handled the situation around his right quadriceps injury last season. He will be an unrestricted free agent after next season.
All of which has Pelinka realizing the Lakers might have to turn their focus to 2019 if it cannot lure free-agent targets such as LeBron James and Paul George this summer.
“We do feel like the road is a flexible road for us; if July 1 happens with one or two superstar players, great,” Pelinka added. “If it doesn’t, we love this young core that we’re developing and we know 2019 could present some amazing opportunities as well.
“So really, any road we go down we’re really confident in, but obviously for Lakers fans we want to be good, we want to be back in the playoffs where Lakers deserve to be and competing for a championship.”