The Los Angeles Lakers have big plans for the summer of 2018. With Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram in place, they have a pair of young and interesting talents as a foundation to build upon in the future. But a slow rebuild isn’t the plan and Ball and Ingram aren’t supposed to be the Lakers’ top stars in the immediate future.
Magic Johnson and Jeannie Buss want stars back in the purple and gold. Johnson has touted that the Lakers plan on making a run at two max contract players in the offseason, although the logistics of making that happen will be wholly dependent on their ability to ship out a significant amount of money at the deadline. If L.A. renounces their rights to all free agents, including restricted free agent Julius Randle, they will have approximately $48 million. That’s not anywhere near max money for two players at any level, much less the veteran max that will be $35 million.
To get there, they would have to unload both Jordan Clarkson and Luol Deng and take back virtually nothing. Considering there are few teams with significant cap space to eat a big contract and none that can take on $30 million alone, that seems nearly impossible. However, L.A. continues on with the dream of landing two marquee names in 2018, with all eyes on Paul George and LeBron James.