When Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka took over for the Lakers, there was unbridled optimism among the fan base. Their goal was to assemble young talent while also creating cap space to add two max players who would turn Los Angeles into instant title contenders.
Well, that might not happen soon – and it might not happen at all.
“While nobody is giving up on anything this summer, there’s a bit of reality that’s set in with the Lakers,” ESPN NBA reporter Ramona Shelburne said on Reiter Than You. “One, what (would it) take to get those two max spots? And two, (what is) the likelihood of one, both, or any of those type of players actually coming to the Lakers?”
Those type of players, of course, are LeBron James, Paul George, etc., etc., etc.
As for clearing cap space, well, easier said than done.
“(The Lakers have) been in a lot of trade conversations with teams where you’d have to move either (Jordan) Clarkson or (Julius) Randle and Luol Deng, and that’s pretty hard salary-cap gymnastics to do,” Shelburne said. “I think they’re now kind of figuring that out and they’re now kind of in this place where they realize we got to get realistic.”
Instead of making a splash in 2018, the Lakers (22-31) may need to wait a year.
“You look toward the summer of 2019, and there’s guys like Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson – young players,” Shelburne said. “Maybe you don’t need to take everything over in one summer. So I wouldn’t say they’re out of anything this summer, but they’ve just sort of woken up to the reality.”