According to multiple reports, James is now on a trip to Europe with his wife, so he has not seen these nods in person.
Conversely, however, even if Gilbert wanted to chase a big-ticket free agent to partially offset the blow of losing LeBron, his task would be nearly impossible.
The deal also freed up cap room the Lakers to sign James in the offseason.
Before Sunday's announcement regarding James, George had agreed to a multi-year contract with the Thunder and the likelihood of the Lakers landing Leonard in a trade from the Spurs appeared to be dwindling. That said, it is unlikely these will be the only two in the coming months.
The Lakers are still exploring possible options to acquire another superstar to pair alongside LeBron James.
According to Marks, the Lakers are now projected to have $23 million in cap space next summer. Paul George reportedly made it known past year that he planned on joining the Lakers this summer, so the Indiana Pacers traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Per various outlets, the deal is for one season at $4.5 million.
I've long argued that Leonard, on the basis of talent alone, is worth trading for.
So the Lakers' pursuit of Leonard may continue. Walker alone would not be enough to convince James to stay in Cleveland past the 2018-2019 season, but perhaps the Cavaliers could pull off a shocker. "Nothing but appreciation and gratitude for everything you put into every moment you spent in a Cavaliers uniform", team owner Dan Gilbert told James in a statement. They gave big contracts to Smith, Shumpert, and Tristan Thompson to keep together a championship core.
They have their own pick, the Sacramento Kings' (top-one protected), the Memphis Grizzlies' (top-eight protected) and the L.A. Clippers' (top-14 protected). The Lakers can afford to be patient in building the team, even if James wasn't on board. Those subsequent moves raise one important question: LeBron is aware the Lakers did that, right?
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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