With a lot of cap space saved up for this year’s offseason, the first move of the rebuild for the Los Angeles Lakers was the signing of LeBron James. A move of that magnitude is the kind of franchising shifting occurrence that will make the Lakers an immediate championship contender, regardless of what type of team is surrounding James. LeBron will now sit at the base of this very young Lakers core.
This 2018 offseason led to a lot of expiring contracts for many different Lakers. These names include; Travis Wear, Isaiah Thomas, Julius Randle, Gary Payton II, Brook Lopez, Andre Ingram, Channing Frye, Tyler Ennis, and Kentavious Caldwell Pope. When it was all said and done, Caldwell-Pope was the only player among that group to be retained.
With Julius Randle being a crucial part of this Lakers squad in the 2017-2018 season, it was a confusing process for the Lakers. Should they keep him and be at risk of not being able to add players around LeBron James? In the end, they decided to withdraw their qualifying offer, as the New Orleans Pelicans picked him up.
Next, Pelinka and Johnson brought in veteran players in Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee. The Lakers added to their young squad when drafting late first round picks in Moritz Wagner out of Michigan and Svi Mykhailiuk out of Kansas. And most recently, they signed former Knicks power forward Michael Beasley to finish off their roster.
As of now, the starting lineup is up for grabs. Likely only James, Caldwell-Pope and Ball have secured a starting spot on this roster. So many quality players have made it a difficult decision for coach Luke Walton to build a rotation that keeps everyone fresh and happy.
The additions of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, and JaVale McGee are good veteran pieces that’ll mix up the locker room as far as personalities and leadership go. Rondo will help Lonzo grow as a passer even more. Stephenson will bring energy off the bench and occasionally will bring an offensive spark. McGee brings depth and length down low and will likely be the starting center going into the season.
But the most significant addition to the team is LeBron James. Adding one of the best players ever to touch a basketball court will immediately make the Lakers better. He’ll take the attention off of Ball, Ingram, and Kuzma offensively and will open up the floor like the red sea. Lonzo and LeBron will play off each other like the lesser version of Harden and Paul. Death lineups with LeBron at the four and the five already have Luke Walton salivating.
The Lakers have put together an intriguing bunch looking for a bright future under the helm of LeBron James. Their new acquisitions will benefit the young players that were previously on the team that Lakers fans have come to know and love like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandom Ingram, and Josh Hart.
Next Up: How the Roster Changes Will Impact Lonzo Ball