Jeanie Buss reflects on Anthony Davis trade, Kawhi Leonard chase
Over a year ago, the Los Angeles Lakers went all in and traded for superstar big man Anthony Davis to pair alongside LeBron James. Fast-forward to today, the storied Purple and Gold franchise will have a chance to raise banner no. 17 in the rafters.
Team owner Jeanie Buss spoke with Sam Amick of The Athletic and reflected on the franchise-altering move, while also touching on the wild chase for Kawhi Leonard, who eventually signed with the Los Angeles Clippers:
It was really the right thing for us to do, because when you have somebody like LeBron James, and where he is in his career, you’ve got to go all in. We then went through free agency, which was a little odd just because decisions were being, you know, kind of stretched long (as I reported back in December, Kawhi Leonard’s handling of his free agency leading up to his choice to sign with the Clippers caused significant frustration in Laker Land). But I think we recovered well from the delay. And you know, the roster that (Lakers vice president of basketball operations) Rob Pelinka put together, really you’re now seeing what the vision was, because it is a versatile team that can go big, can go small, and that doesn’t really show until you’re in the playoffs. Well, we hadn’t been in the playoffs for so long it was really hard to see what the vision was and where we were going. But now that we’re in the playoffs, you can see how the versatility of the lineups (works). And that’s really a testament to our front office being led by Rob Pelinka.
Many so-called experts and analysts argued that the Lakers gave up too much for the 27-year old generational talent. With the Lakers just four wins away from reaching the mountaintop once again, trading Davis for their young prospects and draft picks was certainly worth it.
Furthermore, as Jeanie Buss mentioned, constructing the roster took some time as they waited for the biggest chip (Kawhi Leonard) to fall. Though they didn’t land the 2019 Finals MVP, it seems not getting Leonard turned out to be blessing in disguise for Los Angeles.
As Jeanie Buss said, GM Rob Pelinka has done an outstanding job in rounding out the lineup. They have proven throughout the 2020 Bubble Playoffs that they can match-up with just about any team in the league. They can certainly go in various directions in their upcoming Finals showdown with the Miami Heat.