magic johnson made it clear ever since accepting the job as the president of basketball operation for the Los Angeles Lakers that he wants the best players on his team. On Monday, the Lakers legend reiterated his intention during an interview with Freed Roggin and Rodney Peete on AM570 LA Sports, stating his goal of bringing a superstar to Hollywood.

Hunting for the stars

The Lakers, who finished with 26 wins in the first year of the post-Kobe Bryant era, will enter the offseason with a belief that they are one major piece away from becoming a playoff contender in the Western Conference. With head coach Luke Walton locked for the next 2-3 seasons, the next step in the rebuilding process is to find a guy who can become the centerpiece and leader of this young squad.

Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George appears to be the no.1 target for the Lakers at the moment. The Los Angeles native is set to become an unrestricted free-agent in 2018, putting pressure on the Pacers front office, headed by Magic’s friend Larry Bird, to make their decision before they lose their franchise player for nothing.

George, who averaged 23.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, has been expressing his frustration with Indiana’s progress. Despite adding a number of key acquisitions (Jeff Teague, Thad Young and Al Jefferson), the Pacers wrapped up their regular season campaign with a mediocre 42-40 slate, and find themselves on the brink of elimination after dropping the first two games of their series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While the Lakers can easily pull off a trade to acquire George this summer, a little patience could go a long way for the franchise.

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Los Angeles can basically wait for George to become available on the free-agency market, and then sign him to a max deal. In this way, the Lakers will be able to add a dynamic talent without breaking up its young corps.

Make Blake stay in LA

For now, it would be wise for Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka to use $16M to $19M in projected cap space for free agents. This year’s free agency class is riddled with veteran talent who can make an impact right away. One superstar the Lakers are reportedly monitoring is Blake Griffin, who averaged 21.1 points and 8.8 boards this year for the Los Angeles Clippers. Expected to opt out of his contract, the All-Star bruiser is being linked to multiple teams, including the Boston Celtics, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Lakers. Signing Griffin is going to be a tricky one for the Lakers, as they would have to convince a team under the cap to absorb one of their bad contracts (Timofey Mozgov’s $16M per year and Luol Deng’s $18M per year) in order to make room for a max deal.