How was your week

Posted: June 30, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Even though ever network that covers the NBA reported it as breaking news it came as absolutely no surprise to anyone that LeBron James decided not to opt in to the final year of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Even though they’ve been reporting on it for weeks the networks lost their minds when it became official and I don’t understand why. I think before last season even started most people thought this was exactly what was going to happen; so why the over reaction. Also it’s not this is the first time that James has been a free agent.

So now it’s time for the circus to being. It appears right out of the gate that the Los Angeles Laker are the front runner to sign James. The Lakers have the most cap space out of any NBA team this off season and there’s been a lot of talk that James wants to be closer to Hollywood since he owns a production company. The Lakers actually have enough salary cap space to add James and one other big name free agent. The Lakers have also been named as a team that would have major interest in Kawhi Leonard if the San Antonio Spurs decided to trade him and Leonard has said he’d like to play in Los Angeles.

If the Lakers are going to compete with teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets they’ll need to add a “Big 3”, but the question is; who will be that third player?

Paul George has made it clear since he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder before last season that he’d like to play for the Lakers. Is a trio of James, Leonard and George enough to knock off the defending champion Warriors or the team they beat in the Western Conference finals the Rockets? While George is a quality NBA player is he than a Draymond Green or Klay Thompson? George averaged 21.9 points per game last season for Oklahoma City as the second option behind Russell Westbrook. In the playoffs George’s scoring average jumped up to 24.7 point per game, but that didn’t help the Thunder get  out of the 1st round of the playoffs. Oklahoma City lost their 1st round series to the Utah Jazz in six games.

Who else is out their on the free agent market that could possible join the Lakers and be that third guy?

The Lakers spent the #2 overall pick on Lonzo Ball before last season, but would Chris Paul be a big enough upgrade to for the Lakers to try and sign him. There are a lot of people who think that if Paul hadn’t gotten injured it would’ve been the Rockets that Faced the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals instead of the Warriors. Paul is 33 and has missed 20 plus games each of the last two seasons due to injury. Paul may be a better option than George, but could Lakers head coach Luke Walton find enough minutes for Ball in that mix? If the Lakers truly believe that Ball is their future they might pass on Paul.

Don’t forget that Kevin Durant also didn’t opt into the final year of his contract and is a free agent. I’m sure that you all heard the reports that James sent Durant a text attempting to sway him to join him in Los Angeles. I’m not sure if there’s a way to find out if that ever really happened, but it was reported. While James is considered the best player in the NBA with back to back championship and winning the MVP award in both of those championships Durant isn’t far behind James. This would be a huge signing if the Lakers could pull it off and would definitely make them the favorite to win the NBA title, but would Durant leave Golden State for James and the Lakers.

Now even though the NBA game has changed quite a bit and the Center position is almost non-existent it’s still nice to have a big man who can protect the rim and grab a big rebound if needed. With that being said could a player like DeMarcus Cousins or DeAndre Jordan possibly be the Lakers third target.

Jordan is more of a classic NBA big man. He averaged 12 points, 15 rebounds and just under 1 blocked shot per game last season. Jordan didn’t attempt a 3-pointer last season and is a terrible free throw shooter. Jordan actually had his best numbers at the free throw line last season, but he still made just 58% of his free throws. Jordan wouldn’t take shot attempts way from James and Leonard, but could be an interesting third player in the mix.

Cousins has shown he can be a top player in the NBA, but he has to learn to get his emotions under control. Cousins played just 48 games last season due to injury, but averaged 25.2 points per game while also grabbing 12.9 rebounds per game. Cousins attempted 6.1 3-point shots per game last season and hit 35.4% of them. Cousins also had two games last season where he had 40 plus points and 20 plus rebounds. Cousins is recovering from an Achilles injury; so that is something any team looking to sign him would have to look at. If the Lakers where that team they’d have to try and figure out Cousins personality would be a fit with player like James and Leonard. If it did work it could be exactly what the Lakers would need to challenge teams like the Warriors and Rockets, but it’s a 50/50 proposition when it comes to Cousins.

Now a player like James, George, Jordan and Cousins can be offered 5 year deal worth $205 million dollars under the “Bird rights” from the teams they played with last season. The best the Lakers can offer is 4 years at $142 million dollars. Since Durant has only been with Golden State for two seasons he falls under the early Bird rights. That allows the Warriors to offer Durant a four year deal with either a 175% of his salary from last season or 104.5% of the league average salary; whichever is greater.

Do you see the Lakers being able to pull this off? If you believe they will; who are the “Big 3” you’d like to see them out together.

Don’t forget that the Sports Time Radio podcast airs live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but it’s also available for you to listen to any time you want at TuneIn.com.

You can also find me on Twitter @Burketime

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