It was quite a busy offseason for the Los Angeles Lakers following an early exit in the first round of the playoffs.
Despite experiencing some significant turnover to the roster, expectations were as high as ever for the Purple and Gold coming off their title run in the 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, injuries to both LeBron James and Anthony Davis toward the end of the year made it evident that changes needed to be made to their supporting cast.
Rob Pelinka wasted no time in providing his solution with the blockbuster acquisition of Russell Westbrook. What came after was a reunion of epic proportions as they filled out the rest of the roster with former Lakers and other high-profile players at a bargain price.
While adding another superstar and some familiar faces garnered plenty of praise from fans, Pelinka revealed the primary factors that went into assembling this year’s roster.
“I think going into the draft and free agency there were really three primary goals and objectives that we wanted to accomplish with the roster. One was adding playmaking or a primary playmaker. Two was shooting and then three was shifting back to, especially defensively, a model of sort of two rebounding defensive centers like we had when we won the championship in 2020. Those were the goals we had in mind and I think if you look at the complexion of the roster, we feel like we addressed each of those three goals and that was something we set out to do so we feel good about that.”
There is no question that one of the most glaring concerns on the roster going into the offseason was the lack of a true point guard to run the offense outside of James. However, the Lakers initially remedied this by adding a host of combo guards like Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk, while bringing back Talen Horton-Tucker to back up Westbrook.
Fortunately, L.A. did manage to find what they were looking for in Rajon Rondo, who played an integral role in coordinating the offense during the team’s championship run in 2020.
Pelinka certainly made sure to address the shooting department right away by adding Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza. Each player is also expected to take on tough assignments when it comes to the defensive end of the floor.
As for the front court, the Lakers provided their answer to how this rotation will look by signing DeAndre Jordan and parting ways with Marc Gasol. Jordan and Dwight Howard fit the billing of what Pelinka was looking for and they will now be flanking Davis down low.
Pelinka reveals motivation behind roster changes
Although the Lakers are always expected to make a splash, the homecoming of Westbrook certainly came as a pleasant surprise to even the most hopeful fan. The move was indicative of the team’s intent to capitalize on their championship window with James and Davis.
Ushering in such major changes to the roster one year after another is hardly ideal for any front office. Regardless, Pelinka felt the opportunity to make these moves was too good to pass up.
“Opportunity,” Pelinka said earlier in the summer. “I think it was an opportunity to make an aggressive move that we felt like bettered our probability to bring the 18th title to the Los Angeles Lakers.
“And when an opportunity like that comes, you’re thoughtful, you analyze it looking for pros and cons and then you make a decision. That’s what leaders are tasked to do and we felt like this was an opportunity to maximize our ability to do what we’re obsessed to do and that’s to bring an 18th title to the city.”
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