The offseason fun on the NBA has just started and rumors are circulating the announced rebuilding of the Los Angeles Lakers will lead to the creation of a Superteam to stop the rampaging Golden State Warriors on their track. Reportedly, the core of this title-chasing squad would be LeBron James, Paul George and Lonzo Ball.
The latest move by Lakers president Magic Johnson appears to signal of his intention to make the team not only a solid title contender in the shortest possible time but also to morph it into a star-studded squad, clearly following the GSW and Cavaliers mold. Or more correctly, Johnson is looking to relive the Lakers dynasty of the past - his with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the recently retired Kobe Bryant.
In a deal inked by Johnson with the Brooklyn Nets, playmaker D'Angelo Russell has been sent East and he will be joined by Timofey Mozgov. Shipping out Russell, according to Business Insider, will indicate the LA front office will make Lonzo Ball as No. 2 pick of the NBA 2017 Draft. The same report said Ball has made clear he can run point for the Lakers and provide court leadership, which apparently Johnson has bought into.
But why Mozgov was packaged with the Russell deal when the Lakers only got Brook Lopez and 27th pick in the draft in exchange? The answer can be extracted by checking out first the current ongoing in the Cavaliers camp.
In a series of reports, UPROXX said all appears not well with the kingdom that King James currently rules. Kyrie Irving is thinking of getting out by 2018 and Jimmy Butler, the subject of a rumored trade deal between the Chicago Bulls and the Cavs, has been receiving strange messages from some of his friends in Ohio.
"According to a Cleveland source close to the situation, several of the Cavaliers who had been prodding Butler to push for a trade from the Bulls the last five days were now warning him to stay away from a suddenly volatile situation," UPROXX reported. This is in relation with the abrupt departure this week of David Griffin as Cleveland GM.
Griffin's surprising ouster purportedly convinced James to exit from the Cavs next year and head West. If the plan pushers through, Irving will likely take on the same route. "All-Star Kyrie Irving has been contacting some of his former Team USA teammates and letting them know that he might be willing to push for a trade, especially if he feels the Cavs' run could end quickly with James able to opt out after next season," UPROXX said in a separate report.
Irving is said to be looking to play for the Bulls next while King James, if rumors are correct, will want to suit up for the LA Lakers. And that would explain why Johnson decided to release Mozgov. Business Insider said Mozgov has a $48 million contract and his departure from LA will mean significant cap space for Johnson to operate on and to take advantage of the free agent market.
The report said with Mozgov out of the way as well as the salary restrictions, Johnson can try to lure in NBA superstars to the Lakers camp. And LeBron James is among the target as rumors persist he wants to win an NBA ring wearing the Lakers uniform. Another candidate would be Paul George, who the Indiana Pacers has now placed on the trading block.
If these scenarios would play out as speculated, it looks like another Superteam is set to appear in the West, the only downside of which is would rule out the likelihood of an NBA Finals series starring the LA Lakers versus the Golden State Warriors.