Free agency didn’t get off to the start the Lakers hoped it would, as Paul George passed on a homecoming of sorts in L.A. to remain in Oklahoma City with Russell Westbrook on a stunning four-year deal with the Thunder.
If LeBron James signs with the Lakers, no one will be concerned, but there are some wondering if James could end up elsewhere if L.A. doesn’t find another star to join him. Kawhi Leonard was long considered the most likely option, but trade talks with the Spurs have cooled off in recent days and it’s possible San Antonio finds somewhere else to send their star.
DeMarcus Cousins has been rumored as a possible short-term signing this summer, as the Lakers could give him a big deal for one year as he returns from his Achilles injury. After Cousins, there aren’t many other options for the Lakers at the All-Star level, particularly on the unrestricted market, which means they’ll have to get creative. Clint Capela will reportedly meet with L.A., but everyone expects his offer sheet to be matched by the Rockets.
One of the other big restricted free agents on the market is Magic forward Aaron Gordon, and while Orlando wants to bring him back it’s possible a huge deal could spook them off their talented but often misused forward. According to Marc Spears, Gordon is on the Lakers list of potential targets.
As is always the case with the Lakers when they have cap space, there are going to be a lot of rumors about them having interest in a player and it’s difficult to figure out what’s real interest and what may be due diligence being done by L.A. that is being spun into leverage by a player’s agent. With Gordon, it might be a little bit of both, as Gordon would be a very interesting addition for the Lakers as he would fit their current timeline pretty well as a developing young star, but is also a strong enough player that he can help make them better immediately should LeBron join them.