President of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka are the leaders of the front office tasked with rebuilding the Los Angeles Lakers back to their former glory. So far they have done an excellent job of starting down that path.
The Lakers have a promising young core of players and an abundance of salary cap space that they hope to use to bring in a big-name player or two this summer. Their primary targets are expected to be Lebron James and Paul George.
If they are unsuccessful in signing one of the two, however, Johnson and Pelinka have already spoken about maintaining that space and carrying it over into the 2019 offseason.
That patience is something Kobe Bryant stressed to Pelinka, who acknowledged it is very important to the long-term success of the Lakers. During a recent appearance on ESPN, Pelinka cited the Golden State Warriors as an example of the patience he must show:
“It’s hard, but it’s natural. My first day on the job, Kobe called me and said, ‘Here’s your biggest challenge, Rob. Be patient.’ Look at the great teams. Look up north of us, the team that’s playing Houston right now. They drafted well, they were patient. They had opportunities to move some of the pieces on their rookie contracts for made-now stars, and they didn’t. It’s led to what they have, so that’s a great pathway, and patience is essential to that.”
Pelinka is certainly right in that dealing away promising young stars for more established players doesn’t always work out. The Lakers want to be back in the playoffs but looking for a quick fix could severely hinder the franchise in the long-term.
These words from Pelinka don’t necessarily mean that the Lakers won’t ever make a deal involving one of their young players, but rather that the team won’t rush into any move for a big-name veteran just to do it.
The Lakers will be patient and analyze every possibility in order to maximize their chances for success and championships in the long-term.
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