Most people were surprised when LeBron James decided to join the Los Angeles Lakers, despite not having at least one legitimate superstar he can team up with on their roster. The first week of 2018 NBA free agency concluded with other Lakers’ top target, Paul George, immediately re-signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder. After acquiring James, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka stopped their pursuit of Kawhi Leonard on the trade market.
Instead of trying to acquire another superstar, the Lakers chose to sign four role players, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, whose fit with LeBron James remains a big question. The Lakers’ controversial free agency acquisitions reportedly have the permission of James, making some people doubt his real intention of joining the purple and gold.
In an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show and reported by SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll, NBA legend Kobe Bryant talked about LeBron James’ decision to join the Lakers. Bryant said that there is no other goal for James and the Lakers’ organization than to win an NBA championship.
“Why do people always say that? They say ‘okay, you need to win.’ Then there’s this crowd of people that are like ‘Well you don’t need to win a championship.’ Well, you’re asking me, you have to win championships. That’s why we play, that’s why we’re here, is to win championships. He wouldn’t of come here if he didn’t expect to win championships. To me, it’s just really simple: Wherever you play, the objective is to win championships. That’s it. End of story.”
It is easy to understand why most people still don’t see the Lakers as a legitimate title contender despite the acquisition of the James. In the modern NBA, teams need at least three superstars on their roster to have a strong chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s the major reason why LeBron James managed to find success in his previous stints with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played alongside other NBA superstars like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
However, it is highly unlikely that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka will just sit back and relax once they see James and the Lakers struggling in the 2018-19 NBA season. Aside from their plan to pursue another superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Lakers also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal before the February NBA trade deadline.