Lakers Rumors: LeBron James, Paul George Signings Targeted in Free Agency

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 13: Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder defends LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the game on February 13, 2018 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly still planning to target both LeBron James and Paul George during the NBA's 2018 free-agent period. 

"The Lakers plan hasn't changed. They want to get both of them," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Thursday, per ESPN Los Angeles.

Although L.A. general manager Rob Pelinka wouldn't tip his hand, he told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated this week the franchise is in an enviable position with the salary cap.

"That's the beauty of it," he said. "Whatever the road becomes—Is it two max guys this summer? Is it one this summer and one the next? Is it splitting up the space and just growing this young core?—it's a good road to be on."

James and George can each utilize a player option in their contracts to become unrestricted free agents this summer. If they join forces with the Lakers, the team would instantly transform into a championship contender after five straight playoff-less seasons.

Los Angeles has a solid young core with Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The team needs more star power in an era dominated by it, though.

While James and George could provide the necessary boost, neither has been publicly willing to discuss their intentions.

"It's a long ways until the end of the season," George told reporters in February. "There's no awkwardness (being in LA amid all the Lakers speculation). I'm a Thunder (player), and that's all there is to it. I'm not one foot in, one foot out. I know what team I'm representing, and I know what our main goal is."

One thing's for sure: the pressure is on the Lakers' front office to make a splash with the team's diehard fanbase growing desperate for a winner.

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