When LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer, he wasn’t joined by another superstar. It was thought that Paul George would head to L.A. and make the Lakers a contender, but the forward decided to stay in Oklahoma City.
With the Golden State Warriors expected to cruise to a third straight championship, much of the talk regarding James and the Lakers revolves around what player they might sign in 2019. The Lakers will have plenty of cap space in an offseason during which several superstars will become free agents.
But there is speculation that Los Angeles could have trouble landing that second star.
Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler were both traded in recent months ahead of becoming free agents next year. Before they were dealt, there were rumors that neither star was particularly excited about the idea of joining James in Los Angeles.
“It depends on what kind of player you are,” Durant told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher when asked about why players might not want to play with James. “If you’re Kyle Korver, then it makes sense. Because Kyle Korver in Atlanta was the bulk of the offense, and he’s not a No. 1 option at all, not even close. So his talents benefit more from a guy who can pass and penetrate and get him open.
“If you’re a younger player like a Kawhi, trying to pair him with LeBron James doesn’t really make sense. Kawhi enjoys having the ball in his hands, controlling the offense, dictating the tempo with his post-ups; it’s how he plays the game. A lot of young players are developing that skill. They don’t need another guy.”
Leonard reportedly has his eyes on playing in L.A. next season. The forward might rather play for the Los Angeles Clippers if he decides to leave the Toronto Raptors after one year. There’s even speculation that Durant and Leonard could team up on Los Angeles’ second team.
Durant is also considered to be among the future free agents that could sign with the Lakers. There are plenty of reasons to believe the two-time NBA Finals MVP will leave Golden State after this season, though his recent comments don’t exactly inspire confidence that Durant would want to play with James.
The Lakers could add a star without signing a star free agent. If Anthony Davis doesn’t sign a contract extension with the New Orleans Pelicans this summer, Los Angeles is expected to be a suitor for the NBA’s best big man.