There is suddenly all sorts of “PG” talk in Los Angeles. On the heels of the Clippers’ blockbuster agreement to acquire Paul George, who will team up with Kawhi Leonard in L.A., Monday brought a report that LeBron James might be shifting to point guard for the Lakers.
Yahoo Sports, which cited league sources, wrote that James is “prepared to become the floor general” for his team, in the wake of its own league-shaking moves. Foremost among those was a trade for all-star forward Anthony Davis. The Lakers also retained forward Kyle Kuzma and signed center DeMarcus Cousins.
Entering his 17th season, James has long been a primary ball distributor for his teams as a point forward. He has averaged 7.2 assists over his career and ranks 10th all time in the NBA with 8,662 assists, with only renowned point guards ahead of him.
One of those legendary players is ex-Laker Magic Johnson, whose 10,141 assists rank fifth. If he maintains his career average and stays healthy, James could pass Johnson in the 2021-22 season, which would be the final year of the contract he signed last year with the Lakers.
Yahoo Sports wrote that James, who was limited to a career-low 55 games last season as he dealt with a groin injury, “is in great shape with no restrictions,” per sources.
Expected to join James in the backcourt is Danny Green, who signed with the Lakers on Saturday, along with Cousins and guard Quinn Cook. Green is coming off an NBA championship with Leonard and the Toronto Raptors; Cook was on the Golden State Warriors squad that lost in the Finals.
According to the L.A. Times, guard Avery Bradley was expected to sign with the Lakers after he cleared waivers, following his release from the Memphis Grizzlies. The additions of Green and Bradley should provide a much-needed boost to the Lakers’ perimeter defense.
The team’s new-look lineup, though, should have little trouble scoring, and Davis can use his shot-blocking prowess to help make up for potential deficiencies in keeping opponents from driving into the paint.
The Lakers brought back point guard Rajon Rondo, who figures to direct the second unit, with Cook and Alex Caruso, another returning player, also able to pitch in.
In trading for Davis, Los Angeles dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans a promising young point guard in Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 pick of the 2017 draft. In addition to whiffing on bringing in Leonard, the offseason’s most prized free agent, the Lakers also saw talented guards such as Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker sign elsewhere.
By adding Leonard and George to a feisty core that gave the Warriors all they could handle in the first round of the playoffs, the Clippers made themselves the favorites of oddsmakers to win this seasons’s NBA championship, which would be the first in franchise history. Having paired Davis with James, the Lakers are not far behind as they seek their 17th league title.