The LA Lakers are still high on emotions after impressively securing their 17th NBA title. LeBron James and Anthony Davis guided the franchise to a strong run through the playoffs toward a championship. However, general manager Rob Pelinka may have just revealed the team’s future plans centered around their star big man.
Lakers’ impressive run to an NBA title
The LA Lakers entered the 2019-20 season with the lofty expectations of contending for an NBA title.
Throughout much of the year, LA cruised, pushing their way to their first playoff berth in seven years. They also locked in the top overall seed in the Western Conference for the first time in a decade. LeBron James put together an MVP-caliber bounce-back season in his second year in LA. Anthony Davis quickly found his way with the Lakers by putting together one of his best seasons.
James and Davis guided LA to an impressive 16-5 record in the playoffs on to an NBA title. Several key role players such as Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, and Alex Caruso stepped up in significant moments.
The franchise’s focus has now quickly shifted over to their long-term future beyond the four-time NBA Finals MVP.
Rob Pelinka lays out the Lakers’ future plans
The LA Lakers may be fresh off winning their 17th NBA title, but the focus has quickly shifted over to the franchise’s future.
LA has uniquely positioned themselves with their contracts for some potentially massive roster changes ahead. With the expectation that Anthony Davis will re-sign in the upcoming offseason, general manager Rob Pelinka recently voiced on The Woj Pod with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN that the Lakers plan to pursue adding a young talented player to play alongside Davis after LeBron James’ tenure. (H/T Talkbasket.net)
“We hope we can have another championship run, build pieces around LeBron and AD. But for the future, if you study our cap, we have the flexibility. The objective is to add another really talented young player to pair him up with AD if he chooses to sign with us for the long term.”
There isn’t any clarity about how much longer James will play with the franchise beyond the final two years of his deal. His contract includes a roughly $41 million player option for the 2021-22 season.
Pelinka’s comments clarify further that LA wants to continue to contend for a championship beyond James’ tenure. All that points to the team making a strong play in free agency in the 2021 summer. The list of talent could include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and even James.
The emphasis on young talent anchors the dialogue toward Antetokoumpo as he will be 26 years old if he elects to enter free agency next summer. He’s currently in the final year of his four-year, $100 million deal that could see plenty of suitors aside from the Lakers, such as the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, and Toronto Raptors also line up for his services.
Remaining in win-now mode
Although there remain question marks around crucial role players on the roster due to free agency, the Lakers are in a promising position to vie for another NBA title.
LeBron James has demonstrated he still has plenty of gas left in the tank to play at an elite level. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis has gelled perfectly alongside James to play some of his best basketball. The Lakers will have their opportunity to further secure their roster beyond retaining their core group over the offseason due to some expected financial flexibility.
LA will face some stiff challenges next season, but the presence of James and Davis headlining the team will keep them among the favorites to win the NBA title.