Free agency 2018 could potentially mark the beginning of a new era in Los Angeles. With expiring contracts and the availability of big-name players this summer, the Lakers have the opportunity to become a playoff team. While there are plenty of options, Paul George seems to be the fan favorite in LA to come home and play alongside the young core of the Lakers. But should the Lakers want Paul George?
First of all, let’s talk about who can’t be signed to new contracts for the Lakers for this summer to be a success. Brook Lopez, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Corey Brewer. These 3 combine for nearly $50 million in the last year of their current contracts. None of these guys deserve the money they are making now and are not essential for the Lakers that are clearly building for the future. Julius Randle, who has been in trade rumors for what seems like forever, is on the last year of his contract, making about $4 million. However, Randle is only 23, and he will have a solid career as a power forward in the NBA. The Lakers need to seriously consider trying to keep him around.
Now, this is where the other options come in to play for the Lakers. There are two players that I see fitting in best with Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and Julius Randle. Those players are none other than Demarcus Cousins and Avery Bradley. But why pursue Avery Bradley and not Paul George? The answer to this is simple. The Lakers are arguably always the center of attention in the NBA media. I can already imagine all of the stories and articles regarding the tension between Paul George and Demarcus Cousins. I just don’t see these two working well together. If George plays for his hometown Lakers, he will want to be the leader, and to be honest, I wouldn’t blame him. I don’t see Cousins taking the backseat to Paul George.
Avery Bradley and Demarcus Cousins just make sense to me. Lonzo and Cousins seem like the perfect match. Lonzo will create on offense and Cousins will feed off of it like we’ve never seen from him before. Bradley, a great defender and good scorer, will also fit in naturally. If they can keep Randle, I like the potential that the Lakers would have, while also being a strong team in the bottom half of the playoff picture in the West. But no matter what happens, the Lakers cannot mess up this summer. The money they have available can be spent poorly in free agency. We see it all the time, teams overpaying players is the trend. The Lakers need to be aggressive with the better free agents and make something happen. There is only one name that could POTENTIALLY (I’m not sure I see this) complicate things for the Lakers: LeBron James. If he shows any interest in the Lakers, they don’t have any other reasonable option other than making it happen.