When you win the LeBron James sweepstakes, that’s a good thing.
But since LeBron announced he was joining the Lakers, Los Angeles has — according to many in the basketball world — made some peculiar additions.
On Thursday, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was asked about the team’s roster construction.
“If your goal is to win a championship, you’ve got to look at the way the champs are assembled and how you can give yourself the best chance to take them down,” Pelinka explained to reporters. “Earvin (Magic Johnson) and I had a conversation, and LeBron echoed this sentiment: I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap.
“No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defense and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage.”
The Lakers thus far have been unable to pry Kawhi Leonard away from San Antonio, and Paul George decided to stay in Oklahoma City. As a result, it was smart to sign guys to one-year deals to maintain flexibility for next summer when several stars will be free agents.
But the question remains if the players who signed those one-year contracts will be able to seriously help LeBron make the Lakers a contender next season.
“We wanted tough two-way players that can defend with a level of toughness and also make shots,” Pelinka added. “Listen, the road to the NBA championship has to go through the team that won last year, and we all know the guys up north have a special group. But one of the ways to attack what they have is with defensive toughness. I think we saw that in the Houston series with some of the players that Houston has.
“And we identified with, if you look at KCP was a guy that is a tough defender and shooter, Josh Hart has proven to be a pit bull of a defender and can make shots, Rondo historically has been a tenacious, tough guy, steals. We wanted that mentality, and we identified it.
“Lance Stephenson, he will agitate you, he will get under you, he will cause you to get out of your game and can play in the open court and score.”
Lance also might continue to agitate LeBron …
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller