This summer was the most productive in recent memory for the Los Angeles Lakers. In their first offseason Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka pulled off multiple moves that put the Lakers in a better spot both in the short and long term.
Even with their top priority being to preserve their 2018 salary cap space, the Lakers made some big additions via free agency (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), trade (Brook Lopez) and the draft (Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma).
ESPN’s Kevin Pelton recently graded the offseasons of every Western Conference team and was very high on the Lakers, giving them an A- for their work this summer:
The best part of the Lakers’ offseason is how it sets them up to be players in the summer of 2018. The Lakers used D’Angelo Russell as a carrot to get the Brooklyn Nets to take on the contract of Timofey Mozgov, clearing nearly $20 million in 2018 cap space. To preserve that room, the Lakers used this year’s space to sign shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to a lucrative one-year deal.
The Lakers will pair Caldwell-Pope in the backcourt with No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball, who lived up to the hype in Las Vegas. The Lakers also got great production from No. 27 pick Kyle Kuzma as they won the NBA Summer League championship.
The Lakers undoubtedly have made themselves a team to watch this upcoming season. Jordan Clarkson says the playoffs are a goal for the team and while that will be tough in the loaded Western Conference, the Lakers believe they have the talent to make a run.
Once the summer of 2018 rolls around, the Lakers will focus on making major additions as LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins will all be free agents. Very few teams are able to pull off what the Lakers did, but Magic and Pelinka are undoubtedly happy about executing their plan.