The arrival of LeBron James in the last free agency made most people believe that the Los Angeles Lakers were finally ready to compete for the NBA championship title. Unfortunately, despite having the best basketball player on the planet on their side, the Lakers even have a hard time earning a playoff spot in the deep Western Conference this season.
Even though they failed to reach the postseason for the sixth straight year, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss still trusts Magic Johnson in making basketball decisions. In an appearance on Sports Business Radio Show at Loyola Marymount University (transcribed by ESPN), Buss admitted that the Lakers are still trying to build a roster “that will get us there,” but she strongly believes that Johnson can surround LeBron James with players that could help them return to title contention.
“In terms of basketball decisions, I will always defer to Magic,” Buss said. “He’s brought a vision of the kind of team we’re going to build and a vision of what Lakers basketball is going to be. And I think you can see that. But we’re still building that roster that will get us there.”
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is aware that most of their fans are already becoming impatient and starting to criticize some of the moves Magic Johnson made in the past. However, Buss continues to defend Johnson, saying that they’re doing everything to acquire their targets on the trade and free agency market.
“They’ve got everything plotted out and the goals they’re trying to accomplish,” Buss said. “I think people have to realize that — and basketball fans do, Lakers fans do — that we have to operate under the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, which means you can’t just go and grab every player that you want.”
The Lakers have plenty of ways to improve their roster in the summer of 2019. Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the 2019 NBA free agency where they could chase the likes of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, and DeMarcus Cousins.
Also, the Lakers have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal. Despite failing to secure a deal before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers are planning to resume their trade negotiation with the New Orleans Pelicans next summer involving All-Star center Anthony Davis. Aside from improving their roster, rumors and speculations are swirling that the Lakers are also planning to find a new head coach next summer.