With NBA free agency in full swing, the latest reports indicate that LeBron James has been in contact with both Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. The Los Angeles Lakers have been notoriously adamant in their search for a secondary star and LeBron James is one of the game’s best recruiters.
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Lakers’ LeBron James In Contact With Kawhi Leonard & Jimmy Butler
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Lakers’ superstar has been in touch with top free agents Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler. While Brandon Ingram had a breakout season primarily playing at the shooting guard position, he is better suited to play forward and the Lakers could use an off-ball “3 and D” wing to play alongside LeBron.
Both Leonard and Butler fit that off-ball role perfectly and the Lakers have the necessary cap space to bring one of the two in on a max contract. Both players are being heavily pursued by their current teams as the Raptors and Sixers respectively want to keep their elite talents. However, the allure of playing in a major market (or coming home for Leonard) could be too much to pass up as players have repeatedly shown that Bird Rights and Supermax deals come second to where they want to play.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Search For Big Man Continues
Especially if the Lakers are able to bring on either Leonard or Butler, their budget to bring on a big man will be fairly thin. Outside of finding someone to play for one of the exceptions, the Lakers won’t have too much money to spend when you factor in the salary the fourth pick in the NBA Draft expects to command.
If the Lakers are forced to look into this crop of players, expect names like Deandre Jordan, Dewayne Dedmon, and Brook Lopez to be off the board. JaVale McGee played on a minimum deal last year and had a fantastic season. He could potentially be brought back for a slight raise on one of the cap exceptions should he not find a better offer elsewhere. Unless they swing a trade for Anthony Davis, the Lakers will likely be running out a fairly thin front court on a nightly basis.