The Los Angeles Lakers caught the big fish of the offseason when they signed LeBron James to a four-year, $153.3 million contract, but now they will be tasked with building a contender around the greatest player on the planet.
While the Lakers will be much improved next season, their chances of competing for and winning a title are slim, barring massive jumps from Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball. Instead, the Lakers will use the 2018-19 season to get their young stars used to playing alongside James, and the expectations that come with that before trying to sign another superstar next offseason.
Many assume that star will be Kawhi Leonard, who reportedly desires to move back to his hometown of LA and play for either the Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers. If the Lakers miss out on Leonard, there still will be a number of free agents to pair with James, and one of them reportedly would be willing to become the Robin to James’ Batman.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus reported Friday, citing a source, that Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler is “open to the idea of moving on from Minnesota to play alongside James in Los Angeles.”
Butler would be an ideal No. 2 alongside James if the Lakers are unable to sign Leonard, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson next offseason, all of whom will be free agents. Butler is a two-way player who can create his own shot and has the ability to defend the other team’s best offensive threat. He also is the type of long, physical player who can play multiple positions that the Lakers are targeting in order to combat the Golden State Warriors.
LA certainly still will target Leonard to begin next offseason, but Butler isn’t a bad backup plan.
Thumbnail photo via David Richard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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