Marc Stein Gives Lakers 50-50 Shot to Land Top Star Since LeBron Won't Go Alone

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) drives past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

As the Los Angeles Lakers look to return to relevancy this offseason, they have to like their odds of adding a star or two (or three) this offseason.

Marc Stein of the New York Times (h/t ESPN Los Angeles) said on Monday there's a 50 percent chance the Lakers land at least one star this summer: "You know what if they don't get two…I don't think they're getting one. LeBron is not going there alone…so 50."

After years of missing out on top talent in free agency, this could be the offseason that helps the Lakers return to glory. They have been linked to James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. 

Not just one, though. And maybe not even just two. It's possible all three could wind up in purple and gold.

James, of course, is the prize of the offseason. It's not clear if he will leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time, but if he does, the Lakers are the favorites, according to OddsShark. The four-time NBA MVP owns a pair of homes in Los Angeles, and Gary Payton recently said that James' son has already committed to an L.A.-area school.

Meanwhile, George-to-the-Lakers has been rumored ever since (and maybe even before) he told the Indiana Pacers last offseason he would not sign an extension with them. He wound up being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, but throughout all of last season, the speculation continued.

That was especially true when the Staples Center poured "We Want Paul" chants onto the California native during a regular-season game:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

A "We Want Paul" chant broke out at Staples Center https://t.co/E61pkWIesQ

George has admitted he would love to play at home, but he has made it clear it's not the only option. In fact, he told Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins last year that his interest in the Lakers has been "overstated."

And then there's Leonard. Yahoo Sports' Shams Charania revealed last week that Kawhi Leonard wants to be traded, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski followed that up by reporting the San Antonio Spurs star wants to play in his hometown of L.A., preferably for the Lakers.

A quad injury limited Leonard to just nine games last season. When he is healthy, though, he is one of the best two-way players in the game.

James, 33, would only leave Cleveland if he believes the Cavs aren't legitimate contenders. That means he likely would not want to go to a rebuilding team by himself. The Lakers have plenty of young talent, but without George or Leonard in the fold, they may not be an attractive suitor for the three-time champ.

Los Angeles could sign James and/or George in free agency, but it would take a trade to land Leonard. It's unclear if any of it will happen, but given there's plenty of reason to be optimistic, this could be an eventful summer in Hollywood.