The Los Angeles Lakers had a clear goal last offseason and that was to add as much superstar talent as possible. They already had LeBron James, they just needed to surround him with more talent. They were able to add Anthony Davis via trade but clearly weren’t content after that.
Rumors connected them to Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and a number of other players that would help the Lakers form a superteam. One player who they were rumored to have interest in was Kemba Walker, who ended up with the Boston Celtics. According to Sopan Deb of the New York Times, Walker admitted that the Lakers were among the teams interested in him:
But leaving Charlotte was a shock for Walker. He expected to stay, he said. Walker was eligible for a so-called supermax extension, but the Hornets came in with an offer that was less than that, conscious of paying the luxury tax. He began to consider other teams. At first, Walker said, he was heavily pursued by the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks and the team he grew up closest to, the Knicks. He considered going home.
Walker Would Be Strong Fit With This Laker Team
If the Lakers were able to acquire Walker, it’s hard to imagine anybody could beat them in a seven-game series. He’s not the best 3-point shooter in the league but he’s good enough. He’s also a prolific scorer, which the Lakers need behind Davis and LeBron.
Walker also isn’t the type of player to cause lockerroom or chemistry issues. It would’ve been very hard for Los Angeles to make the money work and they definitely would’ve missed out on a number of good role players they signed last offseason. However, you don’t really need great role players when you have the best starting five in the NBA.
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Are the Lakers Still on a Quest to Add 3rd Star?
Walker is going to be tied down to Boston for a while so he’s not coming to the Lakers. Either is Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving or Kevin Durant. While LeBron is arguably the best to ever do it, not everybody wants to play second or third fiddle to him and Davis. Also, with a lack of great tradeable assets, it doesn’t seem likely the Lakers end up being realistic players for a star like Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The team has a better shot at looking for a player like Chris Paul. He’s still playing at a high level but is getting up there in age. He wouldn’t demand a lot in a trade and could have at least one or two more All-Star level seasons in him. That would be enough to make the Lakers strong title contenders for at least a couple of more seasons. As long as LeBron is on the team, it’s probably going to be hard for them to land another young star. The Lakers should focus on going after veterans hungry for a title before they retire.
Follow Austin Boyd on Twitter: @austincjboyd