The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a busy offseason that required them to navigate not only the 2018 NBA Draft but an extremely important free agency period as well.
Thanks to a series of carefully planned moves by Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka, the Lakers signed LeBron James with one of the team’s two max-contract slots.
However, the 33-year-old is not at the same stage in his career as the team’s core, which is made up of young players like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart. That leads to a bit of a tug-of-war, as the Lakers may have decide whether to continue to develop their young players or to trade them in an attempt to win now.
Pelinka recently spoke to the media to give his take on which path he believes the Lakers should take.
“I think the ideal scenario is to do both. Be able to win in the now but also have a young core you’re developing to win in the future. I think we are ideally situated to do that. If you look at the landscape of the playoffs this year, youth succeeded in some instances. The game is fast-paced, the game is about quickness and athleticism. You need young legs to do that. So we feel like we can be really, really good right away but also build sustainable winning. I don’t think leveraging the success of the future for a short now, is the right thing to do. I think a sustainable success is really our goal.”
As Pelinka notes, ideally a team can find a way to both win in the present and develop the next generation of young players for the future, but that’s easier said than done.
Although James has given the Lakers time, they could face pressure to make moves. Still, if they point to the model the Boston Celtics used during the 2017-18 NBA season, surrounding Kyrie Irving and Al Horford with young players like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, they can make a solid argument for blending the up-and-coming stars with current ones.
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