The Los Angeles Lakers have been linked to top stars including LeBron James, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. But their core remains strong.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, one of the league general managers believes that Los Angeles could win around 45 games next year even if they don’t make any changes. That would be two games out of the playoffs.
The Lakers won 35 games this season even though rookie point guard Lonzo Ball missed 30 games due to injury. The executive believes that as others on the team like Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma continue to develop, they will have an exciting group.
The team will have young talent like rookie Josh Hart to help them contend for a spot in the playoffs (via Los Angeles Times):
“Hart is part of why the Lakers could be poised to make the playoffs no matter what happens next season. Hart, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball could absolutely form a core that sneaks the Lakers into the playoffs, especially if they can avoid the spate of injuries that slammed them late in the season.”
Los Angeles will have tough decisions to make this offseason about whether or not they bring back Randle, who will be a free agent this summer.
If they strike out on the top stars, they could also consider offer contracts to veterans like Brook Lopez or even Isaiah Thomas.