Having cap space is great. It’s about the only way you can add stars in free agency (since the NBA neutered the old sign-and-trade), as the Warriors did when they signed Kevin Durant this past offseason. Finding a way to get rid of Timofey Mozgov’s ridiculous contract is a big win for the Lakers, even though that deal was a massive sunk cost.
The thing is, cap space can’t win you championships. Neither can hope. You need to go out and add players who will actually help you in your quest for a title — and LeBron James isn’t coming to the Lakers.
Even if they add Paul George in free agency, Los Angeles isn’t a championship contender any time soon. How are you going to convince the King to come join you if you can’t compete for a title? He’s not improving his odds of catching up to Michael Jordan with the Lakers.
Still, clearing enough cap space to make a run at one max free agent this summer and another in 2018 was the single biggest reason for this trade. My guess is Los Angeles is counting on Russell Westbrook to ditch the Thunder next offseason — loyalty be damned — to come home and join up with George.
The presumptive 2017 MVP could play next to Lonzo Ball (we’ll get to him in a minute) in the Lakers’ backcourt and give Magic the kind of star power he clearly craves in Southern California.
Source: Fox Sports