Will Magic Keep His Promise If Lakers Fail to Land LeBron?

GettyImages-984494862
Magic Johnson answers question from the media during a press conference to introduce the team's 2018 NBA draft picks at the UCLA Health Training Center on June 26, 2018 in El Segundo, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have big plans for the summer, and their outcome could shape not only the franchise's future but that of the NBA as a whole.

After five seasons without a playoff appearance, Los Angeles' front office appears ready to bring glitz and glamor back to Hollywood.

GettyImages-984494862
Magic Johnson answers question from the media during a press conference to introduce the team's 2018 NBA draft picks at the UCLA Health Training Center on June 26, 2018 in El Segundo, California. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Lakers have operated shrewdly in the market and can clear out salary space for two max-level contracts this summer, which gives them the perfect platform to target free agents such as LeBron James and Paul George.

Next year, meanwhile, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard will all become free agents, meaning Los Angeles could opt to keep its powder dry—or at least some of it—for the time being.

Magic Johnson, the Lakers president of basketball operations, is so confident the 16-time NBA champion will land at least one superstar over the next two summers that he has put his job on the line.

"It's going to be a two-summer thing for the Lakers," Johnson told reporters.

"This summer and next summer. That's it. If I can't deliver I'm going to step down myself. She [Lakers president Jeanie Buss] won't have to fire me, I'll step away from it, because I can't do this job."

If Magic's statement sounded bullish, it also indicated the Lakers might have something up their sleeve. The team is considered the favorites to land LeBron, should the three-time NBA champion opt to leave Cleveland for a second time.

Speculations the four-time MVP could swap Ohio for California rumbled on throughout the season and only increased earlier this month, after the San Jose-based Mercury News reported LeBron's eldest son, LeBron Jr, had "committed" to attend a high school in Los Angeles County .

The Cavs star, who has until June 29 to trigger his player option for next year, has two properties in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, which has long been seen as an indication they might want to swap his home state for California at some stage.

Leonard, meanwhile, last week expressed his desire to be traded by the Spurs. While San Antonio have previously indicated they have no intentions to open talks with a Western Conference team, the Lakers cannot be ruled out.

Meanwhile, it is far from guaranteed George, who averaged 21.9 points shooting 43 percent from the field, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game in 36.6 minutes this season, will leave Oklahoma.

The 27-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent in July and while he admitted playing in his native state would be "attractive," he has also hinted he would like to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder, claiming the team "checked all the boxes."

Over the course of the season, rumors over the future of LeBron and George have often been contrasting and while it would be very unlikely to see the Lakers not add a superstar to their roster this summer, signing the pair will not be a straightforward task.

However, Magic insisted rumors and speculations had to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

"We don't know what people are going to decide, and we can't control that," he added.

"So if guys decide not to come here, it's not a failure—we turn to next summer.

"Next summer, if nobody comes and I'm still sitting here like this, then it's a failure. But if you judge us on one summer, that's ridiculous. Then a lot of dudes shouldn't be in their roles. Because if we're banking on one summer for the Lakers, we're in trouble."

Will Magic Keep His Promise If Lakers Fail to Land LeBron? | Sports