Magic Johnson hints at the Los Angeles Lakers pursuing a superstar.
The Los Angeles Lakers have missed the NBA playoffs for four years in a row. Along with a longer than expected playoff drought, the team has no clear-cut leader nor a proven star player in the post-Kobe Bryant era with the STAPLES Center set to host the 2018 NBA All-Star Game next season.
There’s no question the Lakers have talent and a potentially bright future with their current players. D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram have shown signs of a promise as they could be the stars they’re looking for, but the new front office may not want to wait for them to develop.
On Monday, Magic Johnson, the new president of basketball operations for the Lakers, made an appearance on Roggin and Rodney on AM 570. Johnson made an interesting comment by saying the team is looking to land a superstar (transcription via Larry Brown Sports):
“We’re going to look at every scenario. We’re going to look at every option. This town and this team — the Lakers — have always had a superstar. And that’s what we’re going to try to bring in here.”
Recently, team president Jeanie Buss said it would be heartbreaking if the Lakers didn’t have a player in next season’s All-Star Game. Los Angeles could be highly motivated to make a trade during the NBA offseason or go all out to sign a proven star in free agency come July. Johnson and new general manager Rob Pelinka may attempt to do both.
Before the NBA trade deadline last February, rumors surfaced of Paul George’s interest to sign with the Lakers in 2018 if the Indiana Pacers couldn’t surround him with the talent needed to compete for a championship. George is a California native and a player that admired Kobe Bryant while growing up in Palmdale.
Although the Lakers brass could wait until the summer of 2018 in hopes of landing George, Pelinka and Johnson have the motivation to make a move as soon as they’re able. If George isn’t attainable this summer or a trade simply isn’t feasible, the team could go in another direction by pursuing another All-Star-caliber player.
Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls is another All-Star that could be on the move with talk of the team potentially looking to trade him in the offseason. At the very least, the Lakers brass could give the Bulls a call in an attempt to gauge trade interest.
Once the season officially comes to an end for the Pacers and Bulls, it’ll be interesting to see if trade rumors start to ramp up with the Lakers potentially involved in a deal for either Butler or George.
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