The Lakers failed to reach a contract extension with Dennis Schroder and might be left with no choice but to try to fill his spot in the starting lineup.
Paul is coming off a run to the Finals, with the Suns losing to the Bucks in six games. He has a $44 million player option, so in order to join the Lakers, he would have to take a massive pay cut.
Westbrook is coming off his first season with the Wizards, and has said all the right things about being happy there while playing next to Bradley Beal.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are capped out and don’t have much wiggle room to land a notable player in free agency. So a trade is their best bet, though beyond LeBron James and Anthony Davis, there is a whole lot on the roster that could convince opposing teams to surrender their stars.
“However, it’s unclear which parties have been involved in those ‘talks’ — the wording could indicate internal Lakers conversations or even just speculation amongst league sources. Schroder and Horton-Tucker would both have to agree to be signed-and-traded to D.C. in such a move, further complicating matters.”
LA has also been linked to the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball, and those two along with several others might be more doable than landing a Paul or Westbrook. And even Lowry or Ball would take some serious creativity by the front office.
Either way, Lakers GM Rob Pelinka indicated recently that some needed changes are on the way, and that management intends to find ways to retool the roster around James and Davis.
“We have an insatiable desire and passion to bring banner No. 18 here,” Pelinka said at the end of the season. “And we’re excited about the work we’re going to commence to get that done for our fans and for the organization.”
“Jeanie [Buss] and the ownership group has empowered the front office to do one thing, and that’s to smartly build a roster to win championships. I think next year, of course, hopefully, with all of our fans being able to come back and be a part of the building, we owe them the work to start the process of retooling and have a championship-caliber team that can do special things next year.”