Magic Johnson needs to be careful with what he says, as he’s already taken a fine for talking about another team’s player this week. But seeing as how the Lakers had an impressive day on Thursday due to the trade deadline, he might be thinking about what’s on the horizon for his squad.
A report indicated that the Lakers were going to set their sights on free agency in 2019 as they were looking to free up some cap space. But what if they were able to make a move at the trade deadline to give Los Angeles the flexibility to acquire another superstar this summer, giving them the space for two franchise-caliber players?
They did just that on Thursday, flipping Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye, along with a first round draft pick. With Thomas and Frye both coming off the books after this year and with Clarkson’s contract no longer a burden, Johnson is optimistic about the Lakers’ chances to sign two major free agents this summer.
So Johnson remains confident, and that certainly seems to reinforce the notion that the Lakers will make a big free agent push. That might be the last you hear about it for a while, and certainly without any specific names, but California native Paul George and Los Angeles homeowner LeBron James are going to be the players that everyone speculates are his targets based on previous reports about their potential interest in joining the franchise. Of course, the Lakers could go in any number of directions, and we won’t know for sure until July.
Though it’s far from a sure thing, it does seem much more likely now than it did a day or two earlier. It would be ironic if the Cavaliers set up another team to snatch James out from under their noses, but it would be far from us to be surprised by anything that happens in the NBA anymore.