With the trade deadline having just passed, there was a lot of talk about the Lakers finding a way to move Jordan Clarkson’s contract to open up even more space, giving them the money to sign two huge free agents.
The Paul George rumors are rampant and the obvious fit does not need to be discussed, but what the Lakers can afford to do, is give George his max contract and still have enough for another player. With LeBron likely heading elsewhere, that does leave the option open for DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins. Boogie, coming off of a horrific injury, would likely not command the max, but the Lakers have the luxury of being able to wait for him. Having just shed the contract of Clarkson, and picking up the first round pick from the Cavs in that same deal, the Lakers may be able to package Luol Deng, that first, and perhaps a future second, and completely clear the decks when it comes to long term contracts.
Then they can sign George and take a chance that maybe Cousins will return to form, even if it takes longer than the start of the season. The Lakers may also be able to get a bit of a discount on him as well as a result. Getting Cousins to buy in at a less than max number, might also allow the Lakers to keep some flexibility and perhaps re-sign Julius Randle.
The other thing the Lakers could do, is sign George, and then run it back with Isaiah Thomas and maybe another player or two on inflated one year deals and then take their chances with the free agent class of 2019.
At the end of the day, I expect the Lakers to get what they can immediately and go the route of George and Cousins and also try to convince Isaiah that he can rebuild his value on a one-year deal at a lower number, so he can also fit into the Lakers salary cap as well. With the three of them and an ever-improving group of young players, the Lakers could be primed for a playoff run next year and for years to come.