For the first time since Kobe Bryant tore his Achilles tendon, the LA Lakers have hope of being a playoff contender. Yes, the roster might be young and inexperienced, and the team is still coming off its fifth straight losing season, but Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have worked hard to creat salary cap space and put the purple and gold in position to pounce of free agents when the clock turns 9:01 p.m. Pacific Time on June 30.
LeBron James and Paul George lead the free agent class, and the duo of unrestricted free agents can negotiate and sign with any team they want. The Lakers also control all their future first round draft picks and have young players like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram that could be packaged for an established star like disgruntled San Antonio Spurs swingman Kawhi Leonard.
While acquiring a player like Leonard would require the help of other teams, the Lakers have significant of salary cap flexibility and even more hype leading up to their most anticipated offseason in years. Here are some of the biggest names that could be in purple and gold next season.