The Los Angeles Lakers are still washing off the champagne from celebrating their 2020 title.
While LeBron proved he is still the best in the game, he will turn 36 years old in December.
James has fought off a decline to this point, but father time is undefeated.
The Lakers will eventually need to turn over the keys to Davis, assuming he resigns with LA.
To maximize their title window with the 27-year-old superstar, the Lakers would be wise to find another young star to pair with Davis.
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka made it seem like that is the plan while on The Woj Podcast.
“We do want to do a couple things. We hope that we can have another championship run next year, for sure, and we’re going to work hard to try to keep the pieces around LeBron and AD.But also, with the future, again, if you study our cap we have the flexibility to say ‘can we add another really, really talented young player to run it out with AD if he chooses to stay as a free agent for five, six, seven, eight years?”
As of now, the Lakers only have LeBron on the books for the 2021-2022 season.
They will also have AD’s salary, leaving them enough room to add another star and fit under the cap.
It was widely assumed the Lakers would try to add a 3rd-star running mate, but it is telling that Pelinka verbalized it on a podcast.
Is Bradley Beal a Target?
The Lakers will have a hard time adding a star outside of resigning Davis this offseason.
The top-level talent is scarce in this class of free agents, and the Lakers will have very little cap space after resigning Davis.
They also have very little to offer in a trade as they only have 2 draft picks total in the next 3 drafts.
Their best plan is waiting until the 2021 or 2022 offseason when more stars become available.
The Lakers would love any of the above players, but Bradley Beal may be the best fit next to Davis.
Beal is the same age as Davis, and his shooting ability would help spread the floor for Davis in the paint.
However, Beal has publicly stated he wants to remain in Washington.
Bradley Beal on Washington: “I’m a loyal guy. I want to be here.” https://t.co/yZJu5l09z7
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) October 17, 2020
Things could change if Washington continues to underperform, but it may require a trade for the Lakers to land Beal.
The Lakers have long been rumored to be interested in Beal.
Looking to the Future
If the Lakers cannot find a player on the same timeline as Davis, they can try to find a younger star in the 2022 offseason.
As stated earlier, Doncic and Young are both scheduled to be restricted free agents in 2022.
Both the Mavericks and Hawks will assuredly extend max contract extensions to both players, but a lot can change in 2 years.
Doncic is on pace to be the next face of the NBA once James is retired.
He is one of the elite offensive talents in the league who would become more dangerous if he can increase his shooting from deep.
Doncic is one of the best pick and roll conductors in the NBA, averaging 1.04 points per possession as the pick and roll ball handler – 5th best in the league.
Davis thrived with James in the pick and roll this year.
Pairing him with another elite play-maker in Doncic would give the Lakers a lethal offense for years to come.
The same can be said for Trae Young, although Young is not as polished on offense as Doncic.
However, Young is a Klutch Sports client – the sports agency run by LeBron’s long-time friend Rich Paul.
The Klutch Sports relationship would give the Lakers an in on courting Young.