The Los Angeles Lakers’ free agency plan has not been revealed officially, but rumors and reports are flying in the weeks prior. After the team struck a blockbuster trade for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, their attention has since shifted to putting together targets and primary players of focus in free agency.
While Golden State Warriors stars Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson will likely be two of the top names on the market, it appears the Lakers won’t be in the mix for them. As NBA reporter Arye Abraham revealed, the Lakers do not plan on pursuing Durant or Thompson this offseason.
Neither report can be considered overly surprising, as the chatter and rumblings around the Lakers following the trade for Davis have pointed to other top-tier free agents. This includes options such as Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker, among others, although nothing official has been reported on the team’s interest in them.
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Lakers’ Free Agency Focus: Kawhi Leonard
While the Lakers may have their sights set on Leonard, it doesn’t appear that there’s a strong belief that the Toronto Raptors star will choose to join Davis and LeBron James. With that said, Adrian Wojnarowski revealed on ESPN’s Get Up Tuesday that Leonard’s focus is in Los Angeles, but it’s with the Clippers, not the Lakers.
“The reality is, Kawhi Leonard is focused on Los Angeles. But it’s the Clippers, not the Lakers. Number one, they don’t have the money to sign him, and two, the idea of him being a third wheel on a team trying to create a superteam, that has not been Kawhi’s M.O. – the Clippers are poised to be able to lure him from Toronto. This will be a Raptors-Clippers fight.” Wojnarowski stated.
He went on to say that it’s not even certain that Leonard “would even take a meeting with the Lakers right now.” This is obviously eye-opening news on one of the top two or three potential free agents on the market, and a player Los Angeles is believed to have a major interest in.
Lakers Targeting Hornets Guard Kemba Walker
Chatter around the Lakers’ interest in Leonard is likely to ramp up even more from here, but prior to those rumblings, the team was linked to Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported that Walker was a “top target in free agency” for the Lakers following their acquisition of Davis.
How free agency plays out for the Lakers could be pivotal to the team’s outlook both in the 2019-20 season and beyond. If they’re able to add a max-level player alongside LeBron and Davis it could set them up to win a title immediately, while also putting them in position for long-term success.