The LA Lakers have kept their foot on the pedal this offseason by adding to their roster. The front office put forth a busy last few weeks to further strengthen the roster. LeBron James has been involved throughout the process, which has seen him send a playfully salty message to his new teammate Marc Gasol.
Lakers’ busy offseason includes snagging Marc Gasol
The Lakers wasted no time coming off an NBA championship to restructure the roster for a title defense.
General manager Rob Pelinka has moved fast toward adding more proven pieces to the puzzle to maintain a contender-caliber roster. Among those notable additions is former All-Star big man Marc Gasol.
With Dwight Howard choosing to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, it opened the door for the Lakers to pursue Gasol. The veteran big man can immediately step in as the starting center in the frontcourt alongside stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Gasol experienced some notable struggles in the playoffs, but that shouldn’t indicate the player he is at this point in his career. The 35-year-old is still one of the brightest defensive minds in the league, along with being a tremendous passer at his position.
He also possesses the ability to stretch the floor with his shooting, as he hit 38.5% from beyond the arc last season. Gasol has the chance to be a pivotal factor that can help push the Lakers toward another strong title push.
LeBron James believes Marc Gasol stole the DPOY award from him
Throughout the offseason, LeBron James has kept his tabs on social media regarding the Lakers’ various roster moves.
James is set to make his first comments through the media with his appearance on The Road Trippin Podcast that will air on Spectrum Sportsnet on Tuesday night. In the preview clip for the episode, the four-time NBA champion poked fun at new teammate Marc Gasol for having what he believes is his Defensive Player of the Year award.
“I’m happy to have Marc [Gasol], another champion that won with the Raptors two years ago who I have always loved. Marc has my Defensive Player of the Year trophy at his house, but that is neither here nor there.”
The comments were made playfully, but James did make a strong push for the 2012-13 Defensive Player of Year award. He finished as a distant second for the honor (149 points) behind Gasol (212). Gasol was the anchor of the Memphis Grizzlies’ stout defense, which had a solid case as being the best unit in the league.
Meanwhile, the 2012-13 season could be argued as James’ best season as he ran away with the fourth MVP award. James was on a mission that year that saw him earn an All-NBA First Team selection and his fifth NBA All-NBA Defensive Team nod.
More importantly, he led the Heat to their second straight NBA title and his second NBA Finals MVP award. With all that said, it’s no wonder that James still feels slighted that he didn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year honor.
Lakers are primed for a strong NBA title defense
The playful comments aside from LeBron James, he’s well aware that the Lakers have put together another talented roster.
LA may have lost some key contributors in Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard but gained some potentially pivotal pieces. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell could bring some much-needed scoring aboard off the bench.
Meanwhile, retaining Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and adding Wesley Matthews maintains stability in their backcourt. Marc Gasol’s presence in the frontcourt brings a versatile option on both ends of the floor. The front office has constructed a deep roster that should make them the early clear-cut title favorites for next season.
There will be the early hurdles of building chemistry with their new pieces, but each player has already voiced their commitment to fitting into the fold. The proof will have to be in the pudding with their performance on the court, but the Lakers may have the makings of another extraordinary year.
LA has the star power along with a healthy veteran presence around that to guide them toward that ultimate goal yet again.