This meant they had about one max contract slot to find 11 players. After waiting for Kawhi Leonard, general manager Rob Pelinka and the Lakers were left with minimal options.
Despite that, the Lakers put together one of the league’s best rosters. The Lakers signed Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso, and several others to one- and two-year deals — meaning they have a championship-level core for at least the next two seasons should Davis re-sign.
Pelinka managed this by keeping Davis and LeBron James firmly involved in the free agency process. It was so involved that Davis likened it to a ‘stalking girlfriend,’ according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“We were doing constant calls about, ‘What do you think of this or this player?'” he says. “Rob was almost like a stalking girlfriend. He was an agent, so he’s played both sides. He knows that in order for stuff to work, the players have to be involved. And he tried to make sure that LeBron and I were involved as much as possible. During free agency, every decision I got a text or a call, even just two minutes, ‘Look, this is going on. … How do you feel? OK, cool.’
Pelinka at some points was calling Davis so often to check on certain free agency signings that the latter had to tell him to stop:
“Every single decision. I [have] never been involved so much. No matter who the player was, he wanted to make sure. It was on everything. And it was like, ‘Wow.’ To the point where I was like, ‘All right, Rob, stop calling me.'”
Beyond the ‘stalking girlfriend’ comment, this revelation by Davis shows how committed Pelinka is to making sure this team can compete for championships. After the tumultuous beginning of the offseason where Pelinka was referred to as a backstabber, he recovered extremely well and has put himself in the good favor of his All-Star players and fans.
Now, it’s clear that Davis and James are very happy with the roster around them and that’s something that hasn’t felt like the case for either of the two All-Star players in a very long time. And for Davis, it was probably for the first time in his career.