The Lakers will have the cap room to pursue a second star in free agency during the summer of 2019, but it remains to be seen whether any of next year’s truly elite free agents will jump at the chance to play with LeBron James, writes Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. As Kevin Durant, 2019’s top free agent, tells Bucher, it’s probably easier for role players to fit alongside LeBron than it would be for another star.
“It depends on what kind of player you are,” Durant said. “If you’re Kyle Korver, then it makes sense. Because Kyle Korver in Atlanta was the bulk of the offense, and he’s not a No. 1 option at all, not even close. So his talents benefit more from a guy who can pass and penetrate and get him open.
“If you’re a younger player like a Kawhi [Leonard], trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn’t really make sense,” Durant continued. “Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it’s how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don’t need another guy.”
Veteran forward Trevor Ariza, who also spoke to Bucher, essentially expressed the same sentiment as Durant, noting that players who could benefit most from LeBron’s ball-dominant play-making would likely be more inclined to join the Lakers than a star who wants to be dominating the ball himself.
“If I was a free agent, I would have to consider everything,” Ariza said. “But my role is different than [Paul George] and Kawhi. They ask them to do different things than they ask of me. Guys similar to [LeBron], why would they want to play with somebody who does all the same things? I can see why they would want to play elsewhere.”
Here’s more from around the Pacific:
- In other Lakers news, Joe Vardon of The Athletic outlines why LeBron is unlikely to start deferring to the team’s young, unproven players anytime soon, while head coach Luke Walton says he thinks the franchise is capable of winning a championship without acquiring a second star (Twitter link via Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times).
- Within an in-depth look at the Suns‘ point guard options, Bob Young of The Athletic reports that the team nearly traded up in the 2018 draft using the extra first-round pick it owns from the Bucks, and would’ve selected Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in that scenario. However, owner Robert Sarver pushed instead for the deal that saw the Suns give up Miami’s 2021 first-rounder for Mikal Bridges, according to Young.
- Iman Shumpert, who looked like an expendable veteran on an expiring contract coming into the season, has been a key part of the Kings‘ rotation and is having on positive impact on Sacramento’s young players, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.