2017 NBA Draft: Lakers favoring Lonzo Ball in draft, looking at Paul George and LeBron James

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Lakers fans have had a ton of news to keep up with these last couple days. Paul George announced that he wants to leave the Pacers and prefers coming to the Lakers. There’s been plenty of draft talk surrounding Lonzo Ball and other potential trades for the team.

Kevin Ding, reporting for Bleacher Report, states that the Lakers are favoring Ball in the draft and have an eye on not only Paul George, but LeBron James, too.

The Lakers have been disinclined to gut their young core to trade for George since they could sign him as a free agent in 2018. But since the Lakers would have to trade some of their youngsters for salary-cap space to sign both George and another max-caliber player such as James, giving up a solid player in Clarkson and his $50 million contract in a George trade comes much more easily. Trading Clarkson for a current or future draft pick in a separate deal makes a ton of sense given the Lakers’ need to keep adding talent and desire to clear future payroll.

There’s no question that the Lakers will have to dump some of their salary in order to get some free agents in this offseason or the next. However, it would be preferable if they could somehow dump the Deng and Mozgov contracts instead of those of the younger players. That would be a harder thing to do, but more beneficial to the team.

Paul George feels like the most likely of the two to actually end up on the Lakers since he’s already expressed his interest. The Lakers best bet is to hold off on trading for him and just signing him as a free agent.

Kevin Ding also noted that Lonzo Ball spent more time with Magic and Rob Pelinka.

Hotshot UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball desperately wants to be drafted by his hometown team, and the Lakers are nearing a final decision to select him with the No. 2 overall pick, according to league sources.

Some final planning and discussion remains to be done before the draft Thursday, per team sources, but Ball logged quality time with Lakers president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka in a second predraft meeting Friday.

Lonzo Ball certainly has upsides to his game and would be a great pick for the team. He’s a safe bet for them at the number two pick and while there’s still areas he can improve on, they’ll have plenty to work with.

 

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