Well all of the fun and ridiculousness surrounding the LeBron and Paul George super team in Los Angeles next season has been put to bed, at least for the moment.
According to a report from ESPN, the Lakers organization has decided to hold off on trying to make a big splash in free agency in 2018. They will not pursue the greatest free agents on the market including LeBron James and Paul George, instead they will allow their young players to develop another season and have more time to get some of their contracts off of the books.
They are now setting their sights on the 2019 class which should feature Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard.
While I believe that the Lakers may have decided not to put all of their eggs in the 2018 free agency basket, which makes sense considering DeMarcus Cousins torn Achilles, Paul George constant comments in the media about his new brotherhood in Oklahoma City, and what I would assume is private intel that LeBron wants nothing to do with LaVar Ball and all of the drama surrounding the Lakers at the moment, I absolutely guarantee you they will at least kick the tires on a meeting with PG-13 or LeBron. They are just preparing their fanbase for the likelihood that they don’t land a big fish in 2018 free agency.
That list of players for the 2019 class seems unlikely to be acquired either as nothing is harder in professional sports it seems than acquiring a superstar in his prime unless you happen to be a championship caliber team with cap space like the Warriors in 2016, Spurs in 2015 or Celtics in 2017 or have the perfectly laid out plan (including some collusion) to have the space to acquire as many as three in the right year like the Heat in 2010.
There are only a few real game-changers in the league and most franchises protect them like gold. The Lakers have all of the pomp and circumstances, but if they don’t have a budding contender by 2019 the chances that they land one of the three names mentioned above is pretty low.
This is still a savvy decision by the Lakers in my opinion as you may as well give yourself some more time to sell off your assets, let Luol Deng’s contract get closer to expiration and let your core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Larry Nance Jr. and Josh Hart develop more before you attempt to infuse any star talent to vault you into contention.