Coming off of the shocking NBA Finals, in which the Toronto Raptors knocked off the dynastic Golden State Warriors, the league feels more wide open than it has in a long, long time. That is good news for the Los Angeles Lakers, who just made the mega-splash move of trading for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are dealing Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first round picks for Davis. That includes the No. 4 pick in next week’s NBA Draft.
With Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both staring down free agency, and missing at least most of next season, the Warriors are likely not going to be the favorites in the West since their incredible run began. That opens the door for the Lakers to try and capitalize on the LeBron James era in a big way.
They likely can’t do it with James and Davis alone, given what else is on the roster. James has always thrived when surrounded by shooters and good guard play.
It isn’t a huge shock that their next order of business is to land a top point guard, with Ball heading to New Orleans. One of the biggest names on the market at that position is Kemba Walker.
Per Marc Stein of The New York Times, Charlotte Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker is the next major Lakers target.
Just this week, Walker indicated that he wanted to stay in Charlotte, and said he’d even consider taking less than the maximum contract available to help the Hornets build around him. Even if that’s true, it is very unlikely that the Hornets will be able to attract the type of free agents necessary.
Meanwhile, a Lakers team with LeBron, Davis, and Walker would be a very strong title contender, at least on paper.
Kemba Walker will be a top target in free agency for the Lakers after they reached an agreement in principle to trade for Anthony Davis, according to league sources
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 15, 2019
Just a few weeks ago as the playoffs raged on without them, the Lakers looked like an absolute mess. Magic Johnson abruptly resigned as team president, which led to pretty revealing features and analysis on what seemed like a toxic environment.
Now, the Lakers are the NBA Finals favorites already, and could be adding more.
It is a wild time in the basketball world.