Magic: LeBron pushes Lakers’ rebuild to ‘a whole nother level’

Magic Johnson says signing LeBron James has accelerated the Lakers' rebuilding process.

Even having reeled in the biggest fish in the NBA free-agent market by signing LeBron James away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Los Angeles Lakers vow to remain disciplined in terms of maintaining their salary-cap space to be able to pursue a second max-level player next summer.

Magic Johnson admits James’ arrival has sped up the Lakers’ three-year rebuilding plan, taking it to “a whole nother level,” but said the franchise’s timetable for rebuilding has set the stage to reach yet another level next season.

“If we feel there’s somebody out there or a deal to be made to make our team better, then we’ll do it as long as it’s a great deal for us,” Johnson said during a conference call Friday, as reported by Ohm Younmisuk of ESPN. “If it’s not, we have our team and we’ll go to battle, go to war with this team. We feel really good about this team.

“Then we’ll have enough room for next summer to give another player a max deal. [General manager] Rob [Pelinka] and I, we already put the strategy together. LeBron of course changed some of that, but we’re still going to stay disciplined and hope we’ll be a team that can have a championship run for a long time.”

Johnson said the Lakers will be conferring with James before making more additions, terming the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and three-time champion the “greatest player” and “greatest leaders in sports.”

“That’s why you have guys that are superstars in this league. You want to have a line of communication and want to know what they’re thinking,” Johnson said. “LeBron, we’ve done that with the guys we brought in. He’s done an excellent job of giving us great feedback. We will continue to do that. The ultimate decision maker on the team and who we bring in is me. I take that to [Lakers president] Jeanie [Buss] and see what she says and whether she signs off or not.”

Johnson admits it will take time for things to come together for the Lakers, having added James, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to go with core players Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

“I think one thing that we have to, and the fans have to be patient about, is the chemistry on the court,” Johnson said. “Because we’re putting together, basically all these guys will be new to each other, playing with each other, right? So it’s probably going to take us at least a month or two, probably closer to two months to really understand how to play with each other and how to feed each other, all those things.

“We saw that LeBron and Miami struggled for the first two months or so when he was in Miami, then they finally got together and they were a championship-caliber team,” he continued.

“And I’m sure when he went back to Cleveland in the beginning, they struggled until they got to know each other and then they were a championship-caliber team. It will be no different here: We’ll struggle to understand how to play with each other and where everybody likes the ball and those types of things, but eventually we’ll get it together and I feel we’ll be one of the best teams in the West.”

1 Comment on "Magic: LeBron pushes Lakers’ rebuild to ‘a whole nother level’"

  1. Nick Soranno | July 14, 2018 at 10:02 am |

    Dear Lebron,

    As a 50 year old Cleveland sports fan I am thankful for your 11 years and sad to see them end in Cleveland. I would like to give you and others a perspective of what your time in Cleveland meant to my generation. You by far, are the greatest athlete of my time to put on a uniform of any team representing Cleveland.

    Growing up in the 70’s we watched the Browns struggle to beat the Terry Bradshaw, Joe Green Pittsburgh Steelers (one of the all time great teams in the history of the NFL). We watched the arrogant Boston Celtics crush our one chance to achieve Cavs NBA greatness when Dave Cowens and John Havlicek cut down the run of the Bill Fitch, Nate Thurmond, Austin Carr led Cavs. In the 70’s the financially plagued Indians rejected the offer from George Steinbrenner so they could continue to struggle financially while developing players for other organizations.

    Turning into the 80’s we found the Browns losing to Red Right 88, and John Elway despite 3 AFC Championship appearances. The Cavs had World B Free then moved to the Daugherty, Price, Nance Williams, Harper era but ran into MJ who owned us just like you own Toronto and Indiana. The Indians were awful for 9 of 10 years but traded their best player Joe Carter for the nucleus of change in Sandy Alomar Jr. and Carlos Baerga.

    Moving to the 90’s we witnessed the Cavs start off with that great nucleus and make it to their 2nd Eastern Conference finals only to succumb to the GOAT of his generation and his 6 NBA Finals Championships. The Browns started off horrible, hired the GOAT of coaches to only have 1 winning season then left town for 3 years. The Indians made the best run until you came on the scene with 2 World Series appearances, 3 AL championship appearances and 5 division titles but after blowing game 7 in 97 the curse of winning the ship in Cleveland began to gather momentum.

    Moving to the 2000’s the Browns have been pathetic with nothing to really draw fans passion. The Indians have been a bona fide MLB team and the Cavs won the rights to draft you. Finally, Cleveland fans had our GOAT, or generation’s Jim Brown, Otto Graham, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth….. It was glorious until you left.

    Then in 2014 you returned and we watched the greatest 4 years of Cleveland sports and all time historic championship match-up in history. We should have won in 15 and overcame an all time great deficit to win it all in 16. THANK YOU. You and your teams efforts will live in my mind forever. The Indians followed with a historic run only to lose to the Cubs in the same manner you helped the Cavs overcome the Warriors. In the process you changed our legacy and outlook. Thank you for coming home and helping our town get back on track, You have helped raise the bar, the image and set forth a legacy of hard work and togetherness.

    Eternally grateful

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