There's an argument to be made that all they need for this to happen is a healthy James and Anthony Davis come playoff time, but the Lakers don't want to rest on their 2020 laurels and will be looking for whatever upgrades they find this summer.
Their options are limited. James and Davis will each earn $76.5 million. The Lakers' projected salary cap is $112million, which they surpass before adding in No. 1 pick. 22nd overall), or their own free agents -- Dennis Schroder and Alex Caruso.
No matter who the Lakers sign, they will have two options to hire outside help. They will be eligible for the taxpayer-subsidized mid-level exemption, which should be around $6 million. They can also trade. To the latter option, check this out from Marc Spears of The Undefeated:
Sources claim that LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers are looking for a veteran point guard. Chris Paul is also on the list. Sources said that Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards' star, has been discussed as a possible candidate to return home to Los Angeles under a sign-and trade deal. This could include Talen Horton–Tucker, forward Kyle Kuzma, point guard Dennis Schroder and guard Talen Hutton-Tucker.
Our Sam Quinn outlined here why Paul, who has a $44.2 million player option for next season, is almost certainly out of the Lakers' price range even if they were somehow able to trade every player on their roster other than James and Davis to clear their maximum amount of cap space. The Lakers would need to do a sign-and trade to acquire Paul, which would severely limit their ability to fill their roster.
It's different with Westbrook. He is already signed with Washington. The Wizards would be the ones who would be hard-capped if the Lakers trade Schroder. Westbrook will make $44.2 million next year. Let's assume Schroder signs for $15million annually or something in the same range. Add Kuzma to that, along with KCP, who each make $13million, and you have the money.
It's another matter whether Westbrook would be a good fit for the Lakers. There will be a variety of opinions. Although the Lakers want a playmaker to relieve James of his pressure (this was originally Schroder's value but it didn't work out as planned), again, Westbrook would be compromised shooting with them.
Personally, I don’t see the appeal. I don't think Westbrook is going to be a key player in a championship run. However, Westbrook could be a great addition to a team that has limited opportunities for improvement.