Friday, 22 June, 2018

Lakers to shift focus toward 2019 free agency class

NBA Rumors: Lakers May Give Up Pursuit Of LeBron James, Paul George Report: Lakers are shifting focus away from LeBron James' free agency
Frederick Owens | 08 February, 2018, 10:32

"As the Los Angeles Lakers become more realistic about the franchise's chances of snaring superstars in the free-agent class of 2018, the front office is increasingly looking through a longer lens in its team building process, league sources told ESPN".

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers' salary-clearing efforts had been geared toward signing a pair of stars to max-level contracts this offseason, with LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins as the top targets. For almost a year, the new Lakers front office, led by president Magic Johnson, has been gearing up for the loaded 2018 NBA Free Agency class which will be headlined by LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins, among others.

When you take into account recent events though, it's easy to see why Los Angeles appears to have suddenly changed their focus.

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"James is believed to have a reluctance toward signing with the Lakers without an established star immediately joining him", Wojnarowski reports.

While Randle has been playing well of late with 10 straight games in double figures and at least 20 points five times since January 9, it makes sense for other teams to exercise an element of caution before he enters restricted free agency. They are now 10-4 in their last 14 games, and focusing on the long term would give the young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma additional time to grow. It was his third straight game with a double-double, and that trend may continue if he remains in the starting lineup while Lonzo Ball continues to deal with the MCL strain.

The report is especially relevant before the upcoming trade deadline tomorrow. Sure, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson could be on the market by then, but few expect any of them to part with their teams. This can only mean exciting things for the City of Los Angeles.

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