Lakers beginning to recalibrate free agency focus to the class of 2019.
The Los Angeles Lakers are shifting their focus to the much anticipated 2019 free agent class, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
The Lakers have been rumored to attempt to unload contracts prior to Thursday's trade deadline in an effort to create cap space for two maximum contract slots this July but, according to ESPN, they have "become more realistic about the franchise's chance of snaring superstars in the free-agent class of 2018."
This July, guys like LeBron James, Paul George and DeMarcus Cousins will all be able to test the free agent market. That said, George appears to be leaning towards re-signing with OKC and Cousins recently suffered a season-ending achilles injury. LeBron has long been rumored to have interest in joining the Lakers but it's truly anybody's guess who he signs with, if he leaves Cleveland at all.
The 2019 free agency class will likely include All-Stars such as Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard. Waiting an extra year to chase big name free agents means the Lakers won't have to rush to create cap space before Thursday's trade deadline and will also allow their young core to develop which might encourage veterans, like the aforementioned players, to sign with the Lakers next Summer.
Wojnarowski and Shelburne note that the Lakers aren't necessarily "abandoning a summer pursuit of stars" but they appear to be prioritizing the 2019 crop of free agents.