After assuming their front office roles, Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka revealed their ambitious plan to make the purple and gold an attractive destination for superstars once again. They started by creating enough salary cap space to sign max free agents, and this summer, the Lakers acquired their first legitimate NBA superstar since Kobe Bryant retired.
The arrival of LeBron James is expected to finally put an end to the Lakers’ five-year playoff drought. However, Rob Pelinka made it clear that his team is not competing in the league just to earn a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference. Pelinka said their one and only goal is to hang another NBA championship banner at Staples Center, and until that happens, there will always be a sense of urgency on him, Magic Johnson, and Jeanie Buss to continuously improve the team.
“I’ll personally feel a sense of urgency until we get a championship,” Pelinka said, via Lakers Nation. “I won’t rest until then. It’s just the way I’m built. I know Magic is the same way and Jeanie. We don’t compete to play games. We compete to win championships. There will be a sense of urgency until that happens.”
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka sought to add "defense, toughness and depth" this offseason.
They believe they've found that in their new crop of vets.https://t.co/kVbC4kl69O
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 22, 2018
Despite the acquisition of LeBron James, Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka is aware the purple and gold are still not in a position to compete for an NBA championship. Pelinka already explained the reason behind the controversial signings of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley, and if things don’t go as they expected, he assured their fans that they won’t rest until they build a legitimate title-contending team.
“I think the best answer to that is we won’t rest until we do,” Pelinka said of winning an NBA title. “I can’t predict the future or when that’s going to be, but I can predict this: no one is going to out-work us to get there.”
Aside from LeBron James, all the players the Lakers signed in the recent free agency only have one-year contracts. This enables them to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the 2019 NBA free agency which will feature several NBA superstars, like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan. The Lakers could also use Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and Michael Beasley as salary cap fillers if ever they decided to engage in a blockbuster deal before the February NBA trade deadline.
As of now, the Lakers first want to see how their young core will perform playing alongside LeBron James. Expect Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson to make another big move if the Lakers struggle early in the 2018-19 NBA season.