Which Max Free Agent Would Be Best for the Lakers?

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It just doesn’t stop with the Lakers and signing max free agents in any offseason. The Lakers are bound to have another eventful offseason with a lottery pick, and enough cap space to sign a max star. Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka hit the jackpot last year signing one of the greatest of all time in Lebron James. They then proceeded to fill out the roster with veterans and role players that don’t fit the young core which made everything clunky and thus as a result in the Lakers ending up with a lottery pick. The Lakers this summer have a lot going for themselves as they have many options to work with this summer. But Pelinka and Magic have made it known what their intentions are and it was to bring two max stars to play in Staples Center in front of Laker fans. There are many max free agents this summer but it isn’t like the Lakers can just choose and pick which one plays for their team. No. It takes two sides to agree and the Lakers will have some convincing to do. But let’s say they were able to choose, who would the best max free agent be for the Lakers?

Depending on the free agent, I will be breaking them up into tiers based upon the fit, caliber of player, and anything extracurricular.

Unrealistic

  • D’Angelo Russell
  • Julius Randle
  • Tobias Harris

They were former Lakers and the way the front office handled things with them and their respective camps, there just isn’t in reasons for both sides to come into agreement. As for Tobias, I don’t see how his style of play can fit with the Lakers as the team is filled with forwards in Brandon, Kyle, and Lebron.

Tier 3

  • Demarcus Cousins
  • Jimmy Butler
  • Nikola Vucevic
  • Khris Middleton
Via The Undefeated

Demarcus Cousins

Boogie is an interesting free agent because we all know before his Achilles injury, he was definitely worthy of a max contract. With that being said, one of the possible needs for this team this coming summer is at the center position because JaVale McGee will be a free agent, Tyson Chandler looks to be at the end of his career, and Moritz Wagner would be the only center under contract. Boogie could provide a presence at the center position they haven’t had since Dwight Howards. Although he is coming off an Achilles injury and may not be worth the max, Cousins is still one heck of a player and has shown growing aspects to his game. Cousins, because of his injury may look to evolve his game into more a facilitating big man and that will fit well with any Lebron team.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

Kyle Kuzma

Demarcus Cousins

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler, currently with the 76ers, may look like he has taken a step back when you look at the numbers but his defensive presence is still there and is still the player you’d want taking the last shot on that 76ers team. Butler would fit right in with the Lakers because of his defense. The perimeter defense with Lonzo, Brandon, and Jimmy would be a force to be reckoned with and teams would have a tough scoring from the perimeter. Jimmy also gives Lebron James that go to the second option as Butler has proven to be capable of being a number one option on a good team. Jimmy Butler would likely command to be paid to the max thus limiting options at the role player positions but Jimmy does fill in a need at the two-guard position. Jimmy Butler is in my tier 3 however because of his locker room issues that can occur throughout the season and with a team that is trying to get back to championship level status, the Lakers need to avoid any variables and obstacles that could get in the way.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Jimmy Butler

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

JaVale McGee*

Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic, to me, is an underrated big man and because playing for a team like Orlando, he doesn’t get the proper recognition. Although he was an all-star this year, his game can be recognized if he played for a team in the big market regions. Vucevic provides a scoring threat as a stretch 5 which can space the floor for attacking players like Brandon Ingram and Lebron James. Vucevic is currently a 20 and 12 player taking three 3s a game, which is a good volume of shots to take for a big man. Vucevic is a skilled big man with a passing ability that Lebron would definitely love and guys like Lonzo and Brandon could feed off of a high IQed player. Kuzma and Hart can feed off of him as well as spots up for when Vucevic kicks out.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

Kyle Kuzma

Nikola Vucevic

Khris Middleton

Khris Middleton was recently just an all-star this year along with his superstar teammate, Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, I just don’t see Khris leaving the Bucks especially with the situation they are currently as they are building something that possibly could be special in the coming years. Middleton, however, does embody a player that the Lakers could use in any style of play because of his 3 and D persona.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Khris Middleton

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

JaVale McGee*

Tier 2

  • Klay Thompson
  • Kemba Walker
Via USA Today

Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson’s likelihood of leaving Golden State is very low but he would be the perfect fit next to playmakers like Lonzo, Lebron, and Brandon. He is one of the greatest shooters of all time and his ability to come off screens from three is something the Lakers could use to add variation to their playbook for whoever the coach is next year. Klay Thompson has also developed a reputation for being one of the league’s best guard defenders in the league on the perimeter. Put him next to Lonzo who is also an elite guard defender, and you have yourself a backcourt that is deadly on both ends. Klay seems to have made it clear about his intentions on what he wants to do but the NBA is a business and anything can happen.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Klay Thompson

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

JaVale McGee*

Kemba Walker

Kemba Walker is an interesting candidate as a possible Laker. He is one of the more underrated, not only guards but players in the league. He is wasting years of his career in Charlotte in which they are having a tough time building a year in and year out winning team. Lonzo Ball is a low usage guard so having a guy like Kemba who can run the pick and roll effectively at a good level would be perfect next to Lonzo. Lonzo who can focus on transition offense and defense while hitting the spot up 3s (hopefully) next to Kemba who can provide the second scoring option next to Lebron while also running the half court offense would also be a deadly backcourt. Kemba Walker may be the most underrated option for the Lakers in terms of free agents they could target this summer because he is rarely talked about within the likes of Kyrie, Steph, Dame, and Westbrook

Projected Lineup

Kemba Walker

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

JaVale McGee*

Tier 1

  • Kevin Durant
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Kawhi Leonard
  •  
Via USA Today

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant is arguably a top 3 player in the league right now. He’s one of the greatest scorers in history. His ability to take defenders off the dribble and score in very creative ways is what makes him up there with one of the greatest of all time. But Kevin Durant is getting flack for not being able to “lead” a team and that may lead him away from being a player that plays for the Lakers because the player he is chasing right now is Lebron James. Teaming up with the player you are currently chasing just wouldn’t be right. However, I would take Kevin Durant any day. Having a player like him next to Lonzo and Lebron to go along with other growing scorers in Brandon and Kuzma would provide easy opportunities for Durant. Would Durant team up with Lebron and possibly form the best duo of all time? We shall see.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Kevin Durant

Lebron James

Javale McGee*

Kyrie Irving

We all know that Kyrie and Lebron were former teammates when they were both Cavaliers. It seemed that both split up prematurely. I don’t know for sure because I don’t pay attention to Boston on a daily basis but it seems Kyrie is having a tough time leading that young and promising Boston team to a championship level. Kyrie is about to enter his prime and does Kyrie want to team up with Lebron again? Who knows what’s going on with Kyrie, but needless to say he would be a great player on the Lakers. No doubt if I was the coach, I would make him the number one scoring option. Much like Kemba, he would provide the same skill set but to a higher level. Kyrie Irving, in my opinion, is the best closer in basketball today and the Lakers haven’t had a big-time closer since Kobe Bryant. Kyrie is averaging 24 a game within 33 minutes with other scoring options in Jayson Tatum and to a lesser degree Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. It’s still impressive to see he is doing as much as he can with a struggling Boston team that is still finding themselves as they gear up for a playoff run.

Projected Lineup

Kyrie Irving

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Lebron James

Javale McGee*

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard is probably one of the most interesting guys in the NBA, personality-wise at least. I can’t really put a finger on where he could actually go this summer. He’s pretty mysterious as he is such a reserved person. Kawhi nonetheless would be really good for this Lakers team. Having lineup with Lonzo, Brandon, and Kawhi on the perimeter would be tough for other teams to score out there. Kawhi has improved his arsenal on the offensive end which makes his fit a lot better with that lineup. Kawhi is also reliable down the stretch of games. Whatever you need him to do on any end, he will do it. Getting Kawhi would be beneficial Lebron as the Lakers can try to hide Lebron on the defensive end with one of the best defenders in the league as well as having one of the best defensive trios helping Lebron.

Projected Lineup

Lonzo Ball

Brandon Ingram

Kawhi Leonard

Lebron James

JaVale McGee*

The Lakers have got some work to do over the summer. Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson have made it known what their intentions are with the max cap space slot will be. If the Lakers can acquire a max superstar, all of the stuff we have been criticizing them for will be justified.

About lakershowland 15 Articles
@lakershowland on Instagram. Don't know if you can tell, but I am a Lakers fan.

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