Stephen A. Smith says fears of LeBron James failing to recruit marquee free agents to Lakers are ‘very real’
The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the teams that are expected to be major players in this summer’s free agency market, as they have enough cap space to sign one top-tier player to a max contract. Additionally, they are rumored to re-negotiate with the New Orleans Pelicans to trade for Anthony Davis.
However, there are speculations that top free agents do not want to go to the Lakers, either because of how poorly they were handled this season or because of LeBron James and the media attention that he brings with him. In a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take, Stephen A. Smith said that these rumors are indeed straightforward facts.
“In Los Angeles, a legitimate argument could be made – the fears are very, very real that LeBron James is going to end up there by himself. That nobody is going to come and join him and he’s going to be left there for three years completely empty handed.”
It seems to be true right from the beginning of the season, as there were already reports that Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant — two of the top free agents this summer — does not want to play for the Lakers. In addition, when the Purple and Gold engaged with the Pelicans on a potential AD trade, everything fell apart because New Orleans never wanted to make a deal with them in the first place.
However, the Lakers have made some changes in terms of front office management. Rob Pelinka is now the team’s top basketball decision maker, while Frank Vogel was recently hired as new head coach.
It is unclear if these changes will be enough to convince free agents that the Lakers are a good franchise to play for, but the front office is doing their part in making sure that the team’s offseason ends up a success.