Magic Johnson: LeBron James ‘fast-tracked’ Lakers’ rebuild plan
Magic Johnson indicated this week that the Los Angeles Lakers are staying the course with their long-term rebuild plan. However, the Lakers president of basketball operations did admit the acquisition of LeBron James “fast-tracked a lot of things.”
Johnson and the Lakers obviously landed the most sought-after free agent on the market by signing James to a four-year, $153 million contract. The team then supplemented the James acquisition by signing veterans Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley.
Johnson insists the Lakers will nevertheless maintain a long-view perspective as it relates to building a championship-caliber roster.
“We’re still on track,” Johnson said, via Lakers Nation. “I mean, of course he fast-tracked a lot of things. No question about it. But we’re going to stay disciplined. We’re not going to make mistakes by going out and making a deal just to say we made another deal.
“Our timetable is still the same, yet if we feel there is somebody out there or a deal to be made that could make our team better, then we’ll do it as long as it’s a great deal for us. If it’s not, then we have our team and we will go to battle with this team.
“We feel really good about this team. And then we’ll have enough room for next summer to give another player a max deal. Rob and I, we’ve already put the strategy together. LeBron of course changed some of that but we’re still going to stay disciplined and build what we hope will be a team that can have a championship run for a long time.”
The Lakers reportedly were in the mix to also acquire Kawhi Leonard, although the San Antonio Spurs’ decision to ship Leonard to the Toronto Raptors of course temporarily short-circuited pairing him with James.
The Lakers nevertheless remain confident about landing Leonard in free agency in 2019, as it has been suggested the superstar may not be interested in remaining in Toronto for the long haul. In other words, the Lakers may just be getting started.