Who Is Most Likely to Play With LeBron James Next Season?
Mark Strotman | 4 mins
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The Lakers will be the most aggressive buyers in the NBA this offseason.
After signing LeBron James in 2018, the Lakers missed the postseason in what was a disappointing 37-win campaign. James isn’t getting younger and the fanbase is getting restless after another Lottery-bound summer.
It’s a sure bet that GM Rob Pelinka will be going after any and all available big-name players. Whether trade or free agency, the Lakers are certain to add a sidekick for James as he attempts to get back to the Finals after missing out this season for the first time since 2010.
Here’s a look at which stars could be headed to Los Angeles to team up with James and get the Lakers closer to their 17th NBA championship. It also goes without saying that these moves could end up having a major impact on NBA betting.
Anthony Davis Deal Appears Imminent
New trade partners could arise at any moment – especially for such a talented player – but Anthony Davis certainly appears destined for Los Angeles. The Pelicans and Lakers are reportedly progressing on a deal for the six-time All-Star.
@WindhorstESPN on @SportsCenter— LakeShowWorld (@LakeShowWorld) June 12, 2019
“I will say this is, it’s really gaining traction, for the first time I generally believe they are serious about trading AD. The next 24-48 hours could be very important.” #LakeShow #Lakers #NBA pic.twitter.com/TcXCEAEjWk
It’ll likely take a third team to get the deal done because the Pelicans don’t seem all that interested in the fourth pick. But at this point it’d be a shock if Davis doesn’t end up getting his wish and land with LeBron James and the Lakers.
Oddsmakers seem to think the same, as the Lakers are -500 to acquire Davis over the Knicks (+375) or the field (+1000).
Jimmy Butler Could be Lakers’ Plan B
Jimmy Butler reminded everyone this postseason why he’ll command a max deal in free agency this summer. The Philadelphia 76ers would like to keep his services after dealing for him in November, but it’s anyone’s guess as to where Butler wants to go. Remember, this is a player who demanded a trade and has played for three different teams in three seasons.
Butler spends plenty of time in Los Angeles during the offseason and in the past has spoken highly of LeBron James, who he battled for years in the Eastern Conference while playing for the Bulls.
If the Lakers aren’t able to land a top tier free agent (or Davis), Butler could be a fallback option. He’s +700 to bolt from Philadelphia, the favorite at -225, for the Lakers.
Kyrie Irving Seems Destined for Either New York Team
It’s safe to assume that Kyrie Irving hasn’t decided where he’ll sign this offseason, but all signs are pointing to it being one of the two teams playing in New York. For starters, he just changed agents and will now be represented by ROC Nation, owned by Jay-Z.
Jay-Z, of course, hails from Brooklyn and was once a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets also just made a trade to free up cap space that will allow them to sign two max free agents this summer. The Knicks will have two max openings as well and have long been linked to Irving.
But what about getting the band back together? Irving wasn’t able to get to the mountaintop in Boston without LeBron James. Maybe he understands that he’s better suited as a No. 2 option and knows he can win again with James at his side.
Oddsmakers aren’t ruling it out. Though the New York teams are frontrunners, the Lakers aren’t far behind at +300 to land Irving.
Kevin Durant’s Achilles injury make Lakers a long shot
LeBron James will turn 35 years old early in the 2019-20 season. The Lakers haven’t made the postseason since 2013 and haven’t been to the Finals in nearly a decade, a long time for a franchise with 16 championship banners hanging in their arena.
All those facts mean the Lakers are in win-now mode and simply can’t afford to wait around for Durant, who underwent Achilles surgery on Wednesday, to become healthy.
The Lakers would have been a difficult match anyway, but now that Durant is expected to miss all of next season, the possibility is basically extinct. Durant won’t be coming to the Lakers and teaming up with James.