The Los Angeles Lakers rivalry with the Boston Celtics is one of the best in all of sports, as they have faced each other in the NBA Finals many times, with both teams being on the winning side of multiple occasions.
The rivalry was at an all-time high in the 1980s, when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were the two best players in the league. The two teams met in the Finals three times in the 1980s, with the Lakers winning two of those matchups.
After a 20-year hiatus, the rivalry was renewed, when the Kobe Bryant-led Lakers squared off against the Celtics in both the 2008 and 2010 NBA Finals, with the Celtics winning the first time, and the Lakers taking the second matchup.
In the last few years, neither team has figured into the championship picture, but both organizations have stockpiled assets and look to be promising heading into the future.
Johnson, who now serves as the president of basketball operations for the Lakers, commented on the current state of both teams, and he believes the rivalry will once again be renewed in the near future, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:
“So we got young talent; they have young talent. They’ve got a little bit more with (Al) Horford and Hayward, the veterans who are stars, especially Hayward. And then hopefully next summer we can add something to our roster. So I think it’s going to come together.
“We could see them in The Finals sometime,” Johnson said with his patented smile.
The Celtics were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference this past season, but lost in five games to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. They had the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, but ended up moving down to No. 3 to select Duke forward Jayson Tatum. He joins a Celtics nucleus of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Gordon Hayward, who the Celtics signed in free agency.
The Lakers took their point guard of the future with the No.2 pick, Lonzo Ball out of UCLA. He joins Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and the rest of the Lakers young core.
While the Lakers most likely won’t figure into the championship picture this upcoming season, they hold enough cap space in 2018 to sign two max level players, so that should help speed up their rebuilding process.