The Los Angeles Lakers stood out with the enormous depth of their roster on the way to the franchise’s 17th NBA championship in the Orlando bubble.
The triumph would have not been possible without the tremendous showings from LeBron James and Anthony Davis throughout the season. The two All-Stars perfectly complemented each other in their first season as teammates, creating a fearsome duo reminiscent of the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal times.
But they received a huge amount of help from L.A.’s role players, particularly in the playoffs — the X-factor Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka thinks separated the group from the rest of the league. “I think the term ‘role player’ can be tossed around and sometimes feel demeaning,” he said.
“We feel like we had star role players. What Rondo did, what Caruso did, Danny Green, Dwight, JaVale, Markieff, KCP; I could go down a list. Those guys played their roles and were star role players.”
Pelinka emphasized “depth” and “versatility” as key ingredients of the Lakers’ successful title pursuit last season. And he hinted those characteristics would be high on the front office’s list of priorities during the search for roster additions this free agency.
“I think that will be a hallmark of how we keep this group together or add others, having star role players is going to be important and essential,” Pelinka said.
The Lakers GM then went out and put money where his mouth is, trading for Oklahoma City Thunder’s sixth man Dennis Schroder. L.A. did not have an offensive guard of his kind, who can hurt opponents by both penetrating the paint and firing from the perimeter, on the roster last season.
The Lakers additionally signed Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell, and retained Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris. L.A. is also said to have a reported agreement with Marc Gasol.
Lakers trade JaVale McGee
One of the “star role players” Pelinka alluded to, JaVale McGee, committed to the Lakers by exercising his $4.2 million player option for the 2020-21 season. However, McGee wound up being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Alfonzo McKinnie and Jordan Bell.
The trade wound up helping the Lakers’ cause under a hard salary cap to reach an agreement with Gasol.
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