Why Lonzo Ball Should Beware Rajon Rondo’s Lakers Arrival

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard

After several months of anticipation, James has officially signed a four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers worth $154 million. Now that James has gone West, 11 of the 12 players who have been an all-NBA first team selection the past five years are in the Western Conference.

The San Antonio Spurs star has been tipped to move this summer after his relationship broke down with the franchise. The Celtics also have other potentially enticing trade pieces, such as point guard Terry Rozier or forward Marcus Morris, both of whom are on low-priced deals. To put the size of the number 23-shaped hole that has opened in OH into context, it is worth considering that last season the three-time National Basketball Association champion led the Cavs in points and assists and was third in rebounds. If Rondo outplays Ball in any significant manner, it may deflate Ball's value on the market and make it more hard to swing a deal for Leonard.

Perhaps the Lakers weren't locks to land quality free agents like Tyreke Evans or DeMarcus Cousins.

James averaged 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.4 steals and shot 54.2 percent from the field this past season.

As now constructed without Leonard, the Lakers are obviously not better than Golden State or Houston, but if they get into the playoffs as a 3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th seed, they could face off against several teams in the first round that today look to have a more impressive arsenal: Utah, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and Minnesota.

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Wojnarowski also reported that swingman Tyreke Evans is close to a contract with the Indiana Pacers.

Yet just because the Lakers signed James doesn't mean they'll have an easy road to the NBA Finals.

The Spurs' asking price for Leonard is rather steep, but San Antonio has made it clear that it is not going to give away Leonard for nothing, and the team's threshold for a trade remains high. It is especially concerning that the Lakers couldn't convince Paul George to meet with them before deciding to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Lakers are the team being mentioned the most for Kawhi - he reportedly wants to end up in Los Angeles, after all - and the Spurs are seeking a massive package from Magic Johnson's team.

Whether that impacts LaVar's title predictions is unclear, though the Lakers should have ample opportunity to add impact players with LeBron in town, regardless of the last names involved.

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