The Los Angeles Lakers made one of the biggest splashes in league history this offseason, swinging a trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, giving them a dynamic duo of Davis and LeBron James.
Still, Los Angeles managed to sign Danny Green and DeMarcus Cousins while retaining Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee to provide itself with some much-needed depth.
Obviously, Davis and James alone are enough to make the Lakers title contenders, but they still had some holes they needed to fill, and they did a fine job of patching them up.
So, here are the three biggest takeaways from the offseason for Los Angeles.
3. They Learned from Last Year
The Lakers may have signed LeBron last summer, but they struck out on everything else and put together an absolutely horrific roster in terms of fit around James.
Well, it seems Los Angeles has learned from its mistakes.
The Lakers made sure they did enough to pry Davis away from the Pelicans, offering up everything but Kyle Kuzma. They also addressed their perimeter shooting issue, signing Green and bringing in Quinn Cook.
While there are still some question marks surrounding LA’s shooting overall and its amount of injury-prone players, the Lakers have done a far better job of putting the appropriate talent around James this summer.
2. They’ve Built a Title Contender
Do I think the Lakers are going to win the title next season? No. I believe the other Los Angeles team has the edge, but there is no doubt that the Lakers have at least done enough to be in the conversation.
Make no mistake about it: this is a championship contender, and it would not be a shock if LA won the title in 2020.
When you have two players like AD and LeBron on the same team, you are going to be pretty darn good, and bringing in Green to space the floor and Cousins for some extra bulk down low only helps the Lakers’ cause.
It hasn’t been pretty, and it has certainly taken longer than Lakers fans originally had hoped, but the franchise is relevant again.
1. They Have a Sense of Direction
This may be the biggest thing.
When Magic Johnson stepped down as team president at the end of the season, people wondered what the heck was going on. When he shed some light on what was going on behind the scenes earlier this offseason, people had even more questions.
Compound that with the fact that the hiring of Frank Vogel as head coach seemed pretty perplexing, and the Lakers’ organization looked completely lost going into the summer.
However, Los Angeles quickly won everyone back over by acquiring Davis, and the fact that it was apparently in the hunt for Leonard (although we don’t really know if Leonard was legitimately considering going there) made everyone forget about what had happened over the previous two months.
The following moves the Lakers made after Leonard spurned them for the Clippers was further evidence that perhaps Rob Pelinka and Co. have a clue, after all.