The Lakers’ protection of their 2020 NBA title fell nicely wanting expectations. And due to that, GM Rob Pelinka is seeking to retool the roster.
In his exit interview following the Lakers’ season, Pelinka mentioned the imaginative and prescient that he and proprietor Jeanie Buss have for the Lakers. Their focus? To “neatly construct” a championship-caliber roster.
“Jeanie and the possession group has empowered the entrance workplace to do one factor and that is to neatly construct a roster to win championships,” Pelinka mentioned. “That is been the hallmark of this workforce since Dr. Buss acquired it, and continues to be right now. Clearly, all 30 NBA groups are confined by a wage cap, so we have got to be actually good with how we put all of the puzzle items collectively, however there is just one aim, and it is doing it neatly to have a championship-caliber workforce.
“I feel subsequent 12 months, after all, hopefully with all of our followers with the ability to come again and be part of the constructing, we owe them the work to start out the method of retooling and having a championship-caliber workforce that may do particular issues subsequent 12 months, and that is the driving ardour and there is alignment there between Jeanie, the entrance workplace, the coaches and our gamers that that can at all times be the aim.”
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This actually looks as if a superb strategy for the Lakers to take. They do not must get overly aggressive of their pursuit of one other title. In spite of everything, they nonetheless have LeBron James and Anthony Davis on their squad. James missed 27 video games and Davis missed 36 through the 72-game season, which ended with the Lakers at 42-30 and seeded No. 7 within the West.
The Lakers have a chance to reshape the roster round James and Davis. The Lakers have solely 5 gamers on the workforce with assured contracts for the 2021-22 season: James, Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol. Montrezl Harrell has a participant choice price slightly below $10 million whereas Alfonzo McKinnie’s $1.9 million contract is non-guaranteed.
That leaves the Lakers with numerous potential roster spots and thus, numerous alternatives to usher in new veterans to suit round James and Davis as they appear to mesh higher than the 2020-21 squad did.
That mentioned, Pelinka sounds comfy making an attempt to deliver again not less than a few of the “core group of gamers” that the Lakers have.
“By way of free company, once more, we really feel like we have now a core group of gamers that may do particular issues,” Pelinka mentioned. “And I’m satisfied that, once more, with out a few of the unexpected circumstances this 12 months, the challenges that we needed to face, that we’d be a championship-caliber workforce, so the aim is to try to hold that core group collectively.
“And, after all, with gamers like Talen Horton-Tucker, and Alex Caruso, and Kyle Kuzma — gamers that you just draft or deliver into your two-way system and groom and develop — there’s a degree of satisfaction in that, and what the Lakers have been in a position to do with these gamers to develop them. So after all our intentions could be to maintain our core collectively, and to have a championship workforce.”
The Lakers might deliver again gamers like Horton-Tucker and Caruso to maintain some continuity whereas shoring up areas of weak spot with exterior assist. Which may be the neatest approach for Pelinka to construct the workforce, particularly contemplating that Los Angeles struggled down the stretch largely due to accidents to James and Davis.
Quickly, we’ll see what the Lakers will do, however one factor is for certain. One other look within the play-in event because the No. 7 seed within the West and subsequent first-round loss will not lower it.