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With Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka at the helm, a new era of Lakers basketball is clearly upon the Lakers. The front office turnover means the Lakers are headed for arguably the most important summer the team has had in the better part of a decade.
Over the last four seasons, the Lakers have 27, 21, 17 and 26 wins and have done so largely without a superstar on the team given Kobe Bryant’s injuries and age over that time.
Taking that into account, it sounds like Magic and Pelinka may cash in on their variety of available assets to bring in a superstar this summer.
"The Lakers have always had a super star…that is what we are going to try and bring in here." -Magic Johnson just now on @AM570LASports
— Jason Stewart (@JasonStewart) April 17, 2017
There could be a myriad of ways to take this statement based mainly on which player you may or may not consider a superstar.
The obvious candidate is Paul George, who has long been rumored to the Lakers, specifically during the final days and hours of the trade deadline. However, Paul George is a free agent in 2018, meaning the Lakers would be taking a risk akin to the one taken when trading for Dwight Howard if they were to acquire George.
Another potential option on the trade market could be Carmelo Anthony, whose tenure in New York appears to be over if comments from Phil Jackson made over the weekend are to be taken for any value.
Among the issues surrounding Anthony, however, are the exact opposite as the ones surrounding George. Anthony is a player on the decline with a big contract and a play style that seems to contradict that which Luke Walton desires.
Maybe most realistic is that Magic was referring to free agency. The Lakers will likely go after the likes of Gordon Hayward, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap. Under the previous regime, the Lakers were known for swinging for the fences in the off-season and Magic may have simply been referring to the Lakers’ strategy in the off-season.
Given Magic’s comments about the young core, it’d be a bit surprising for the team to decide to go all-in and move multiple players, but it would also coincide with the idea of Jeanie Buss wanting an All-Star on the roster next year when Los Angeles hosts All-Star weekend.
Regardless, the upcoming summer will certainly be one that defines the Lakers going forward.