Lakers’ Free Agency Focus Shifting To 2019?

The Lakers are recalibrating their free agency focus, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, who report that the L.A. front office is “looking through a longer lens” as it explores ways to upgrade the roster. Although the Lakers would still like to make a big splash in free agency, they may now be prioritizing the 2019 class over this summer’s group, per Shelburne and Wojnarowski.

Ever since Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka assumed control of personnel decisions in Los Angeles, the team’s desire to pursue free agents in 2018 has been no secret. During the 2017 offseason, the Lakers limited themselves to one-year deals for free agents so as not to cut into their potential cap room for the 2018/19 season.

However, as Shelburne and Wojnarowski detail, there’s still no guarantee that the Lakers will have enough cap space for two maximum-salary free agents this summer, and even if they do, no star players are viewed as locks to head west. The Pelicans are considered the frontrunners for DeMarcus Cousins, who is sidelined with an Achilles injury, while Paul George has hinted recently that he’s leaning toward sticking with the Thunder. And according to Shelburne and Woj, LeBron James is believed to be hesitant about the idea of joining the Lakers without another established star joining him.

The Lakers haven’t ruled out the possibility of landing a big-name player this July, but shifting their focus to the summer of 2019 would reduce the urgency to clear cap room right away. It would also give L.A.’s young prospects more time to develop into the type of players that would attract veteran stars. The 2019 free agent class includes several intriguing potential targets, with Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, and Jimmy Butler among the players expected to be up for new contracts.

While the Lakers could still end up moving players like Jordan Clarkson or Julius Randle this week in an effort to create more flexibility for July 2018, one league source suggested to Shelburne and Wojnarowski that the odds of a meaningful deal are “50-50 at best.” The Lakers have received some offers for Clarkson and Randle, but none of those offers would create significant cap space going forward and give them the sort of draft picks they’re seeking, sources tell ESPN.

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18 thoughts on “Lakers’ Free Agency Focus Shifting To 2019?

  1. aarongill

    It gives the young players another year to develop and see how they do without another star. It gives Magic and Pelinka another year to see if they want to keep someone like Ingram on the roster still. I highly doubt jimmy butler leaves, same with Leonard, Klay I also doubt would come. Hopefully the Lakers don’t bring back KCP for another year

    • bennyg

      Leonard will leave!
      He’s not hapy with how his injury was handled and not being able to get second outside opinions. He’s out!
      So hopefully he lands in LA

  2. CursedRangers

    Smart move by the Lakers. It’s a shame they don’t have their first round draft pick this year.

    Anyone else notice that since loud mouth daddy Bell went off on coach, he hasn’t hardly been mentioned in the press. It went from the Lakers could get LeBron, to this guy is one talkative PIA, to let’s focus on 2019. Also it’s right when LeBron and the Cavs went into a tailspin.

  3. Thomas Swanson

    Kevin Love has lived in L.A. He and Klay Thompson are close. I’d like to see them together.
    I think LeBron belongs in China!

    • Yamsi12

      Klay and Love would definitely bring a ring to LA again. Pair them with Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMello and it’s a sure thing.

  4. Curtis Smith

    Knowing that now lakers should trade kcp for a bad contract that ends next yr and see if they can get a 1st round for helping a team get out the luxury tax

    • Chris

      I think KCP has a no trade clause with his one year deal but not a bad thought. I’d try moving Lopez too

  5. imindless

    Lakers striking out again….2019 class is trash tbh. You jump on cousins asap if given a chance and by no inclination has cousins said he would resign with pels. They are a fringe playoff team at best. Lakers are as well but with no clear star add cousins and lebron and this team could be top 4 at the very least.

    • Yamsi12

      And throw LiAngelo & LaMelo Ball in the mix and they will win multiple rings. Multiple.

    • bowserhound

      Cousins is super risky and he won’t even play until the ASG next season at best. It will be interesting to see what he gets in free agency this summer.

  6. Not a bad idea… Lakers can re-sign Randle, Deng’s contract starts to look a little easier to trade, and the cap goes up too.. The focus should remain on developing the young guys.

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