Los Angeles Lakers continue summer wheeling and dealing

In the most exciting offseason in recent memory, the Los Angeles Lakers’ brain trust of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have seemingly overhauled the team’s roster. While the core of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball remain, the surprising addition of superstar LeBron James has changed the organization’s course.

The Lakers are now contenders. They have made the requisite moves to reflect that fact.

“It’s an exciting time to be a Laker,” summer league head coach Miles Simon told reporters. “We are one of the greatest franchises in sports history.”

While some may question the Lakers’ direction, with recent signings of Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Lakers are making basketball-specific signings that leave the team with cap flexibility for next summer. 

After LeBron agreed to a 4-year, $154 million deal, the Lakers inked their remaining free agents to 1-year contracts. These players, who are all solid defenders, will help the Lakers guard out on the perimeter while allowing the Lakers to keep their cap space for next summer. 

Following the 2018-19 season, players like Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, and Jimmy Butler are all scheduled to become free agents.

The quarter of Lakers’ free agents will also push the youngsters. Caldwell-Pope and Stephenson will push Brandon Ingram for minutes, and Rondo will test sophomore Lonzo Ball–while also providing injury insurance. 

With the addition of LeBron, the Lakers decided to renounce the rights to Julius Randle, who signed a 2-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans. 

These moves signal a shift to a more uptempo style of basketball, where the Lakers will try to defend and get out and run in the open floor.

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