It has been an interesting season for the Los Angeles Lakers and the off-season promises to be just as entertaining. With their playoff hopes fading fast, some fans are quick to point fingers at management, the coaching staff and LeBron James. What a lot of critics fail to realize is that the Lakers were not expected to be much more than a bubble team this year anyways. The early consensus was that even if the Lakers made the playoffs, they would be bounced early. Even if they don’t get into the playoffs, this season is far from being a complete loss. With the exception of LeBron, the team is very young and many of these youngsters should be better next year.
Still, it is quite obvious that the Lakers need to make a move or two before next season if they are going to compete for a championship. This can be done via trade or free agency and several names have been bandied about. Most notably, Anthony Davis who wants out of New Orleans and looked like he was headed west at the trade deadline. Let’s take a look at some of the superstars that could land in Los Angeles and the odds of them going there.
Which of these players will start the 2019-20 season in a Lakers uniform?
Kawhi Leonard +365
Anthony Davis +210
Klay Thompson +525
Kevin Durant +650
Last year, it was widely reported that Kawhi Leonard wanted to play in Los Angeles but he ended up in Toronto and it’s safe to say that things are working out pretty well … so far. He can accept $21.3 million and stay in Toronto next season or he can opt out and join another team. So, the question is whether he still wants to play in Los Angeles, play somewhere else or remain with the Raptors who are in “win now” mode? He recently stated that he no longer had the desire to play in Los Angeles but what else can he really say given his current situation? Some experts have suggested that he has a better chance of going to the Clippers or returning to the Spurs. He could also remain in Toronto especially if the Raptors go deep or all the way. Leonard is a true long shot to start next year in a Lakers uniform.
According to the odds, the most likely of these players to play alongside LeBron James next year is Anthony Davis. It almost happened at the trade deadline but the Pelicans and Lakers could not reach a deal. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are represented by agent Rich Paul which makes things interesting. However, it’s not like Davis has shown any particular desire to play in LA as opposed to other destinations despite making it pretty clear that he wanted out of New Orleans and play for a contender. Still, Pelicans management appears to be set on keeping the six-time NBA All-Star in New Orleans. Only time will tell.
Klay Thompson is another superstar who has been considered as a candidate to end up in Los Angeles. His contract expires at the end of this season and LA wouldn’t need to sacrifice anything more than money to land him in free agency. The thing is that a lot of other teams would likely also be willing to shell out big bucks to sign him. All of that aside, Thompson claims that he intends to stay in Golden State where he has been a big part of the team’s success. This goes a long way toward explaining the +525 odds of him going to the Lakers.
The last name on this list is Kevin Durant who has a player option after this season. Rumor has it that the Los Angeles will target Durant. One thing that bodes well for Lakers fans is that Durant hasn’t given the Warriors any real indication of his intentions. There is no doubt that adding Durant would make the Lakers a formidable opponent and could possibly be a factor in landing another key player that could put the Lakers over the top. Kevin Durant to the Lakers is certainly a possibility and might be worthy of a wager with such generous odds.
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