4. Los Angeles Lakers
After nearly half a decade of internal power struggles and incompetent management, the Los Angeles Lakers have regained some stability. With Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson running the show, they will their eyes set on the NBA’s crown jewels. Reports have linked LeBron James to the Lakers for over a year and Paul George has long expressed a desire to play in LA. As Kawhi Leonard’s relationship with the San Antonio Spurs continues to unravel, the Lakers are one of the teams that could offer the best package for the unhappy superstar. Landing some combination of those three players will be the front office’s top priority this summer.
But playing the free agency game is tough and unforgiving; nothing is guaranteed. Of course, they could always just punt on this summer and prepare to make a run at the league’s top free agents in 2019 if their current schemes don’t come to fruition. But the Lakers have missed the Playoffs for five straight years. That’s unprecedented for this franchise. If the Lakers don’t land any of the James, George, Leonard trio, they might enter desperation mode. Boogie Cousins would be a logical target if Los Angeles is dead set on luring in a star-level talent.
It’s difficult to say how Cousins would fit on the Lakers roster simply because this team could go in so many different directions this summer. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would both presumably be on the roster if the team landed Cousins. Boogie would be an interesting fit beside those youngsters. Given Ball’s wildly inconsistent jumper, the offensive spacing could get tight for this team. The defense, which has been ineffective at best over the past few seasons, could be especially flammable. But again, without really knowing how the rest of the roster will shake out, the fit is difficult to assess. The move might work for both parties though if the Lakers make sure to minimize the potential risks of bringing in an injured star. The Lakers are dying for a star and Cousins, at the very least, has the potential to fit that bill.