After missing the NBA playoffs the last six seasons and having the worst record over that span, the Los Angeles Lakers are finally expected to field a team with championship aspirations for the 2019-20 NBA season.
The Lakers now have two of the best players in the league in LeBron James and Anthony Davis after reportedly completing a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. They also were able to keep Kyle Kuzma in that trade and then selected a promising young player in Talen Horton-Tucker with the No. 46 in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Other than that, the Lakers front office still has a lot of work to do to fill out the roster as they go into free agency with somewhere between $23.7-$32.5 million to work with.
One person who is confident general manager Rob Pelinka will fill James and Davis with the right teammates is Andre Iguodala, who used to be Pelinka’s client. Iguodala recently gave his former agent a vote of confidence, according to Josh Schrock of NBC Sports:
“I expected them to make a lot of moves,” Iguodala said Friday on ESPN’s “First Take.” “Rob Pelinka, my old agent, I knew he would use that brain of his, that Michigan brain. And then, you got LeBron, he’s in the later stages of his career. He wants to win now.”
Iguodala also gave some praise to his former college teammate Luke Walton, who is no longer the team’s head coach after mutually agreeing to part ways at the beginning of the offseason. Iguodala still believes the Lakers can challenge his Warriors for supremacy in the Western Conference and compete for a championship:
“It’s going to be interesting,” Iguodala said. “With LeBron, they gave us some troubles last year, and they really took it to us with that core. I thought Luke Walton did a really good job, I got to say that. I thought he did a really good job his entire tenure there … But with the Lakers, with LeBron, you got a chance at a championship.
For perhaps the first time in half a decade, the Western Conference is wide open as Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are both expected to miss all or most of the upcoming season after tearing their Achilles and ACL respectively during the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
If Pelinka can surround James and Davis with the right pieces, the Lakers should be considered by many as the favorites to win the 2020 NBA Finals.