Recent Los Angeles Lakers rumors are heating up even as the team is watching the playoffs from the sidelines. The latest speculation involves which NBA free agents could possibly join the roster this summer.
There are plenty to choose from and the Lakers could make a trade. However, LeBron James has reportedly been in contact with two-star players that could hit free agency, so far.
LeBron is the Lakers’ ‘Tamperer-in-chief’ now
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, “LeBron has already begun the recruiting process.”
He no longer has Magic Johnson there to get accused of tampering. That makes LeBron, “Tamperer-in-Chief.” Windhorst said he doesn’t know if texts and calls from LeBron will be enough to get the free agents there. He also mentioned the Lakers moving the No. 4 draft pick to some other team may have to happen.
The two players that he’s rumored to have made contact with are the Philadelphia 76ers’ Jimmy Butler and Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard. Both are former and/or recent NBA All-Stars who have been impressive during this year’s playoffs.
In particular, Leonard is really stepping it up with a chance to bring Toronto to their first-ever NBA Finals while Butler has looked fantastic in Philly. Both would provide a serious boost in terms of adding a second star to the roster in case LeBron is sidelined like last season. Still, they may be a dream and not reality.
Former teammates comment on LeBron’s recruiting
Kendrick Perkins commented during “The Jump,” that LeBron shouldn’t have to reach out like this, and that players should want to play on his team. Richard Jefferson mentioned that even Kevin Durant had Stephen Curry convincing him to go to the Warriors.
Jefferson also said he believes they will have at least one other All-Star alongside LeBron before the season is over. RJ said LeBron is “doing exactly what he should be.”
Kendrick Perkins tossed in that he believes Anthony Davis will join the Lakers.
Best fit for LeBron on Lakers?
Meanwhile, on “Get Up!” show host Mike Greenberg suggested that the best player to pair with LeBron James is Kyrie Irving.
Jalen Rose mentioned the Lakers have plenty of great assets to offer in a deal. He also noted that it’s a bad look for Kyrie to possibly go “crawling back to LeBron” after things didn’t work in Boston. Irving could be contemplating going to the Knicks or another team with Kevin Durant.
Another player who is getting mentions is the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker. However, he’s got a major contract signing to consider in Charlotte. Leaving the extra $80 million on the table could be a bad money move unless he’s seriously more interested in trying to achieve a first NBA title with LeBron.
Still, Stephen A. Smith believes it’s more likely for Walker to consider rather than someone like Jimmy Butler. The Sixers could “prioritize” a deal with Butler this summer over Tobias Harris.
The saga will continue this summer as everyone contemplates what will be the next move. The Los Angeles Lakers rumors will certainly be interesting up until they make a big signing or trade.