On his podcast, the Woj Pod (42:40), Adrain Wojnarowski stated that the Lakers feel “they can ultimately do better than [Jimmy] Butler” in their max sport available this summer. Perhaps most just continued to listen, but not me. Once I heard that the only thing I could ask myself is, “Does that mean the Lakers think they can land Kevin Durant this summer?”
Let’s think about it. This summer there will be a loaded free agent class, and if the Lakers think they can do better than Butler, that narrows it down to one superstar. Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard all fit the classification of “better” than Butler, but do not forget, Woj said the Lakers “think.” This is where we start crossing names off.
There is no way the Lakers have an ounce of confidence they can land Irving who did not want to play with LeBron and has said he is going to remain with Celtics.
Kawhi Leonard not wanting to be a Laker has been rumored for months, and was yet again reported this past week by Kevin O’Connor.
As for Thompson, nobody really believes he is leaving Golden State. Which leaves Durant.
Much like with LeBron a year ago, there is a growing belief Durant will look elsewhere come summertime. While the Knicks appear to be the favorites to land him if he leaves, Skip Bayless was told in August that Durant was “open to listening” to the Lakers.
Wojnarowski would not have made this type of statement without the extreme confidence that the Lakers are extremely confident they can land a superior player to Butler. And there is clearly no other player the Lakers could remotely feel confident they could land this July other than Durant.
Bringing up the max spot also eliminates Anthony Davis from this equation. The Lakers would have to trade for him, and as Wojnarowski said earlier this week, a ton would have to happen before the Pelicans even fathom that reality.
All in all, anyone with decent spidey senses would have to bet this potential bombshell belief from the Lakers has to be referring to Kevin Durant.
Any other guesses?