Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Team's Plans for Trade Market and Free Agency

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2019

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers plays defense against Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans on February 27, 2019 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Elise/Getty Images

Improving the roster is always the primary goal of the summer months, but few NBA teams are facing a more critical offseason than the Los Angeles Lakers.

After the arrival of LeBron James in the summer of 2018, the Lakers found themselves in win-now mode. Acquiring a talent of his magnitude necessitates that mentality.

But adding more elite players is never easy.

Fortunately for the Lakers, they're an appealing destination and boast an enticing collection of young talent. Unfortunately for them, the front office is dealing with internal problems, and trading for a top player would basically erase the team's depth.

Los Angeles is bracing for a series of tough decisions that will shape the franchise's level of success for the next few seasons.


Trade Buzz

Priority No. 1 is Anthony Davis.

Despite a failed pursuit at the trade deadline, the Lakers will likely try once again this offseason. They'll be competing with the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks for Davisprovided the Pelicans' last-minute efforts to keep him are unsuccessful.

Pelicans general manager David Griffin is trying to convince Davis to stay, but the expectation is the trade demand will remain.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

While New Orleans Pelicans executive Vice President David Griffin and All-Star Anthony Davis‘ agent Rich Paul will continue discussions, it’s highly unlikely Davis‘ stance changes on trade, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.

Landing the six-time All-Star will require Los Angeles to unload some combination of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hartif not all of them.

But if New Orleans prefers Boston's offer, the Lakers will likely shift their focus to Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal. Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington noted "most sources would want" Ball included in the return for their All-Star guard.

"People just don't grasp how good he is," one of those sources said.

Sean Deveney of Sporting News reported Los Angeles is also interested in Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors.


Potential Free-Agent Targets

At the very worst, Los Angeles will step up to the proverbial plate and take a few home run hacks at marquee players.

LeBron James hopes to be running with, not chasing, Kawhi Leonard next season.
LeBron James hopes to be running with, not chasing, Kawhi Leonard next season.Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving are all headed toward unrestricted free agency in July. And according to Arash Markazi of the Los Angeles Times, Jimmy Butler is a candidate for a max-contract offer from the Lakers.

There's no doubt LeBron James will be locked into recruiting mode and working to convince a fellow All-Star to join the Lakers. 

ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported he's heard LeBron has contacted both Leonard and Butler, and ESPN's Jordan Schultz said James recently spent time with his former teammate Irving.

As previously noted, the Lakers are interested in Utah forward Derrick Favors. However, he could become an unrestricted free agent if the Jazz decline their team option, so a trade might not be necessary. The deadline for Utah's decision is July 6.

Given the level of talent connected to the Lakers, striking out this summer would be an abject disaster for the organization.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.