After the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James, they added Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley as well in 2018 NBA free agency.
Primarily surrounded by shooters during his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, the Lakers pitched James on tough playmakers to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.
As teams have attempted to outshoot the defending champions, the storied franchise is going a different route. With big personalities on the roster, some have questioned the team’s signings and how volatile the locker room can become if they do not get off to a strong start.
James, however, views the signings much differently, as explained in his one-on-one interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN:
“We just got guys who love to play basketball. At the end of the day, guys that love to play ball and that’s what they do every single day, I love that. And I think Pelinka and Magic loved it as well. That’s why they made the signings to bring in Lance, JaVale, Beas and Rondo, guys that just, every day they wake up and think about the game of basketball and everything else is secondary. We look forward to all the challenges. I mean, eyebrows are always going to get raised when my name is involved anyway, so it shouldn’t even be a surprise.”
Since Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka took over the front office, they have preached wanting players who love to play basketball. Along with their new signings, the young core exemplifies the team’s values as they look to take the next step in their development.
While James could have signed with a contender like the Houston Rockets or Philadelphia 76ers, he is embracing the challenge of helping the Lakers return to their championship ways.
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