When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for superstar Anthony Davis, it signaled that the Lakers were making a strong push towards an NBA championship in 2019. Pairing Davis with LeBron James instantly gave the Lakers two of the five best players in basketball.
The Lakers didn’t want to stop there though. They targeted NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and in doing so hurt their chances at signing another big-time free agent. Today we will look at one of the ways the Lakers are trying to save cap room and fill their point guard position at the same time.
Pursuing Kawhi Leonard
All season long there was major speculation that Kawhi Leonard was headed home to L.A. to play for the Clippers. Front office executives for the team attended every Raptor game this season, and no matter the outcome for the season, he was always going to be their No. 1 target.
This didn’t stop the Lakers from doing the same thing, as they envisioned a big three of James, Leonard, and Davis to take over the Western Conference.
However, unlike most free agents Leonard did not make his decision up within the first few days. He actually waited to hold his meetings until the third day of free agency. This forced the Lakers to make roster moves to open up cap space for him in case he wanted to sign a four-year max deal with the team.
Lakers missing out on big-name free agents
Since they were waiting on Leonard to make his choice, the Lakers missed out on other free agent targets, including Kemba Walker (who was traded to the Celtics for Terry Rozier).
Walker would have fit in great with James and AD. The Lakers ultimately had to pick and choose who they were going to sign to fill out the roster around their potential big three, signing DeMarcus Cousins at a bargain basement deal.
LeBron James at point guard?
Since the Lakers could not sign a top tier point guard there have been reports that James could man the position next season. This is a bad move for a few reasons. The first is James doesn’t have the speed to keep up with the athletic point guards of the West that include Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook.
The second is he wouldn’t be as effective on the offensive side of the ball, and although he is one of the best passers in the league, it would be smarter to see him get the ball in a primary attacking position.
The third reason is his health. Could James stay healthy while dominating the ball for long stretches at a time? We think he would exert too much energy running the offense, and keeping him at the three or four spot would be ideal.
Another solid year from Rondo?
Rajon Rondo re-signed with the Lakers during free agency, and we think this is a very smart move. He is always in the top-10 in assists per game, and even with his altercation with Chris Paul this past season, he can still be a valuable leadership presence in the locker room. We see no reason why Rondo can’t average 10 and 10 this season.
Will the switch work out for the Lakers?
Should the Lakers shuffle their roster around? We don’t think it’s a good idea and see LeBron having an MVP caliber season playing small forward. For more news from around the Association check out our NBA section as we the summer league winds down.