The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into what could potentially become a history-altering offseason for the franchise. Just in the past couple of years, they’ve amassed a fleet of young talent, cleared coveted salary cap space, and collected a slew of other assets that will give them the type of flexibility they crave over the next two summers to climb their way back into championship contention.
And the way things are playing out elsewhere this postseason is cause for even greater optimism. Their reciprocal affinity for Paul George is perhaps the league’s worst-kept secret, and OKC’s lackluster showing in the opening round against Utah certainly makes them feel like they have the edge to secure his services.
The Cavs’ well-documented struggles, likewise, might give the Lakers a boost of confidence about their chances to lure LeBron James, especially if they can entice him with the prospect of teaming up with George. Despite their cap space, however, they will of course have to make some sacrifices for any of it to happen.
And according to a new report, they’re keeping their phone lines open this summer and listening to any and all offers that might be on the table from potential suitors, even if that means parting ways with one of their talented young players. Via Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times:
While they like their young core and would prefer to keep those players growing together, they have told teams no player is untouchable in trades, according to multiple sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of trade and free-agent negotiations.
To be clear, the Lakers are not actively shopping any of their players. They are willing to listen to offers and could move one of them — even a member of the talented young cadre of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram or Josh Hart — if an offer blows them away.
Magic Johnson has certainly done an admirable job of positioning his team as one of the major players this offseason, but they’ll still face plenty of competition for their main targets. George has indicated that remaining with the Thunder is still very much in play, while another supremely talented young team like the Philadelphia 76ers has emerged as an intriguing option for LeBron.
Still, it’s the right move for Magic to let the rest of the league know that the Lakers are ready to play ball this summer. The rest of us will be bracing for what’s shaping up to be a wild offseason with all sorts of implications for teams around the league that could alter the NBA landscape for years to come.