The Los Angeles Lakers headed into this offseason hoping to make a big splash in free agency. The best situation would have been landing LeBron James and Paul George through free agency and trading for Kawhi Leonard.
They did succeed in signing LeBron to a four-year deal worth $153.3 million.
However, with Paul George choosing to remain in Oklahoma City, this took the best situation off the table.
George let the world know he wouldn’t be joining the Lakers by posting this photo on Instagram of him alongside Russell Westbrook at party smoking cigars with the caption “Unfinished Business”.
With Leonard not happy in San Antonio, the Lakers still hope to pair him up with LeBron. The Spurs aren’t going to just give away Leonard though. The Spurs want everything for Kawhi which remains a problem for the Lakers to get a deal done.
Do they unload everything including young and budding stars along with some draft picks or do they try and pick him up next free agency?
It seems like a difficult question to answer but in the meantime the Lakers have made some other acquisitions including signing Lance Stephenson, Javale McGee, and Rajon Rondo.
These signings feel weird since they’re not the types of teammates we’ve seen LeBron surrounded by before. Year to year we’ve seen LeBron surrounded by three-point specialists like Ray Allen, Kyle Korver, Shane Battier, James Jones, and Mike Miller just to name a few. It makes sense to sign players like this. LeBron is great at driving to the rim and one of the greatest passers we have ever seen in the game allowing three-point shooters for open shots.
The Lakers have also noticed the problems LeBrons’ teams run into when LeBron has to rest. There’s a lot of statistics that back this up, specifically each team’s effeciency when he’s off the floor. The Lakers addressed this issue by going after a different set of players.
Lance Stephenson is the effort player and I don’t mean that in a bad way. He’s a scrappy player that will hustle for loose balls and get under defenders’ skins with his antics, which LeBron knows well.
He will also serve as another playmaker off the bench that the team will need.
Javale McGee will be a big body on both sides of the floor and will play a similar role he played in Golden State. On the offensive sides he will be able to catch lobs from their playmakers on the team such as LeBron, Lonzo, and Rondo. On the defensive side, he will be there to protect the rim.
Rondo is a high IQ player and another huge playmaker who will compete with Lonzo for some minutes. Although Rondo has never been a good shooter, he will be looked upon to run the show in big situations.
The Lakers have addressed the need by putting playmakers around LeBron. This season we will have to see a different LeBron for this team to work. They can’t just rely on LeBron driving to the rim and kicking the ball because that’s not how this team has been assembled.
This Lakers season will for sure be interesting. Will the playmakers around LeBron thrive and make it so LeBron doesn’t have to do everything to succeed or will the lack of shooters be too much for the Lakers to overcome?