The Los Angeles Lakers have made some big moves this offseason as they eye a championship repeat. However, the Lakers have their eyes on much bigger things next offseason as they brace for an eventual transition from LeBron James.
With the way things are setting up, the Lakers are in a prime position to land a star to play alongside Anthony Davis for the foreseeable future next summer, bracing for the eventual slowdown of the 35-year-old James. While he’s still putting up MVP-type numbers, eventually he’ll hand the keys fully over to Davis in Los Angeles.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne broke down what the Lakers are looking at during a spot on the Mason and Ireland Show. She mentioned that one of the Clippers stars — either Kawhi Leonard (29 years old) or Paul George (30) — could be on the Lakers’ wishlist. Both could become unrestricted free agents if they decline their player options for the 2021-22 season.
“[The Lakers] have positioned themselves to have cap space next year. And Giannis is not the only potential free agent,” Shelburne said, before being prompted with who else could be on the Lakers big board. “I don’t know, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George. Here’s what I think when you look at the Lakers’ long-term plans.
Ramona Shelburne says Rob Pelinka is looking ahead at the post-LeBron Lakers and building around AD
He wants to get a young star in the next year or two to pair with Anthony Davis so the transition post-LBJ is seamlesspic.twitter.com/zmyHE8lhGM
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) December 1, 2020
“If you were the Lakers and you were team-building, you would look at Anthony Davis as the next start to build around. It’s nice for him to have LeBron this year and next year, but he needs a younger star to play with going forward. Whether it’s this summer or the summer after that, you have to put yourself in a position either by trade or free agency to acquire a younger star to pair with Anthony Davis so the handoff from LeBron to AD is seamless.”
Anthony Davis Expected to Meet With Lakers Tuesday
Davis has yet to re-sign with the Lakers, but is nearly a lock to return to the team and lead LA’s quest for a repeat. It’s caused at least a bit of anxiety that Davis hasn’t made his return official yet, but it could be for very good reason.
The former No. 1 overall pick could simply be waiting to see how things develop around the league and look to give the Lakers as much financial flexibility as possible going forward.
The Lakers and Davis are expected to meet on Tuesday to discuss the deal, per Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. There’s a possibility that Davis will sign a two-year contract with a player option for the 2021-22 season. If he did that, he could become a free agent at the same time as James
Giannis Antetokounmpo Could be Holding Up Anthony Davis’ Decision
Much of the league, including the Lakers, are waiting to see what two-time defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will do with his super-max extension on the table in Milwaukee. If Antetokounmpo does not opt for the five-year, $228 million deal before the Dec. 21 deadline, he’d be eligible to be a free agent next offseason.
Brian Windhorst says Anthony Davis could be waiting on re-signing to see what Giannis will do
If Giannis doesn’t sign an extension, AD might go for a 1+1 deal where him and LeBron opt out next season in order to create room for Giannis in LA….pic.twitter.com/24U9bSUjLr
— Top Ball Coverage (@TopBallCoverage) November 23, 2020
“It’s unusual for AD to delay his re-signing for this long. And one of the things he could be watching is what Giannis does,” Windhorst said on SportsCenter. “If Giannis elects to sign the extension, we could see AD sign for longer. But if Giannis sets himself up to be a free agent next year — I know it seems hard to believe the Lakers could do it — but that could spur Anthony Davis to only sign a one-year contract with a player option, which is the kind of deal LeBron James is on, to leave flexibility in the Lakers payroll. There are a lot of people watching Giannis Antetokounmpo.”
Only time will tell what the Lakers have in store, but there’s no doubt Lakers GM Rob Pelinka has something up his sleeve.