According to president Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers are embracing a 3-year plan–one that has improved exponentially with the signing of star forward LeBron James.
The Lakers will not rush their rebuild, even with LeBron’s commitment. The team’s goal is to retain financial flexibility heading into next summer when multiple big name free agents will hit the open market. Johnson has pursued veterans on 1-year deals this summer to remain competitive without sacrificing future assets.
While Johnson did not say LeBron would make any of the future moves, he acknowledged that he will consult the game’s “greatest player.”
"It's not about influence. It's about sitting down with the world's greatest player and picking his brain and saying, 'You're playing in the game today,'" Johnson told reporters. "Just like when I was playing, [late owner] Dr. [Jerry] Buss and [former Lakers GM] Jerry West would come to me when we were thinking about making moves. ... It's going to be the same way here.”
The Lakers went 35-47 during the 2017-18 season, but that number should jump dramatically with the addition of LeBron. By signing a 4-year, $154 million deal, LeBron has signaled that he will stick around for the long haul–not forcing the Lakers to make win-now moves, which would serve as a detriment to the long-term stability of the franchise.
The growth of young players like Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and Lonzo Ball will ultimately play the biggest role in how successful LeBron plays with his new teammates. The Lakers are expected to compete for a high seed in the Western Conference.
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