Adding LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard to a burgeoning Los Angeles Lakers team could enable them to reach the NBA Finals next year, says Metta World Peace.
The Lakers finished 11th in the Western Conference this season with a record of 35-47 and they have not made the playoffs since 2013, when they were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs.
However, there is optimism of a bright future with Lonzo Ball leading a young group including Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Kyle Kuzma.
Reports have linked Cleveland Cavaliers superstar and impending free agent James and the Spurs' Leonard with the Lakers in recent months, and World Peace – who won an NBA championship with Los Angeles in 2010 – believes that the team are not far off being a force to be reckoned with.
Speaking to promote the launch of his new book, World Peace exclusively told Omnisport: "The Lakers are in a good situation.
"They have a young group that is smart. Not just a young group, everybody has this rebuilding group, this young group, but is the young group good?
"I don't care how young they are, I don't care how much you're rebuilding - this young group is good.
"[They won] 35 games [this season]. They have a really good mix of veterans that can play. So this young group can win 45 games next year.
The #LakeShow will make stops in San Diego, Anaheim, Las Vegas, San Jose and @STAPLESCenter this preseason!!— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) May 14, 2018
Full Schedule & info: https://t.co/V4B9CRQftZ
Presented by @Delta pic.twitter.com/u3daX0xIkh
"Some Laker fans will be upset like: 'Oh, we lost, we lost.' But if they win 45 games next year that's a good situation.
"Now if they get a veteran that makes an impact, now you're talking 50, 55 games.
"If they keep Isaiah Thomas, he got there late in the season, maybe they don't need nobody, and maybe you're talking 55, 58 games with just the team now.
"Or what happens if you add LeBron or Kawhi Leonard? Oh wow. You might be in the Finals next year."
- For more information or to order a copy of No Malice: My Life in Basketball or: How a Kid from Queensbridge Survived the Streets, the Brawls, and Himself to Become an NBA Champion, by Metta World Peace please visit www.triumphbooks.com/nomalice.
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