Hang tight Lakers fans. I don't think this means what you think it means...
Los Angeles traded Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Channing Frye, and a first-round pick. But this deal was all about the cap space. With a few more moves at the end of the season, (Julius Randle and Luol Deng can both be renounced,) the Lakers could be looking at $70M in cap space to use on free agents.
LeBron James, come on down!
But I don't think so. And frankly, I hope not.
Cleveland did what I didn't think they'd be able to do with this deal. They added players for James without mortgaging their future. Clarkson and Nance are solid young players who will contribute now and be nice pieces to build upon if (or more likely, when) James leaves.
As intriguing the idea of LeBron and insert-other-big-name-free-agent-here might be, the Lakers aren't a plug and play option for LeBron right now. There's talent here with Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and maybe Lonzo Ball, but that talent isn't ready to win just yet. Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson have the right idea here. There's an even bigger, younger class of free agents in 2019 with Klay Thompson, Kawii Leonard, and Jimmy Butler.
And after all the drama and nonsense coming out of Cleveland recently, do the Lakers really want to get into the LeBron James business? I hope not. Because I've already seen the end of that movie and it ain't pretty.