The Lakers enter this offseason with a goal in mind: to do whatever it takes to set them up for a better future. They fired Byron Scott and hired Luke Walton. The drafted Brandon Ingram. They signed veteran free agents that can complement their youth. And despite striking out on superstar free agents again, Jeanie Buss, president of the Lakers, echoes optimism about the Lakers’ future on an interview with ESPN.
One can argue that one of the biggest acquisitions the Lakers signed this summer was not a free agent or a rookie, but it was a coach, Luke Walton. Buss stresses the importance of Walton’s hire for the future. The culture of fun and excitement that Walton will bring is already making its mark.
“I’m excited,” Buss said. “I think Luke Walton is the exact right person to coach this young team. He has the enthusiasm and the charisma I don’t think he knows he has.”
The optimism surrounded by the Lakers is felt throughout the summer league. Although summer league games are meaningless for some, it is still meaningful for the Lakers considering what happened to them these past years. Winning in any competition is great for the Lakers and their fans.
“I’m optimistic,” Buss said. “You know we’re undefeated in summer league and I know that doesn’t mean a lot. Lakers’ fans are smart, and they have been selling out games because they’re excited about these young players.”
The Lakers will rely heavily on their youth. They will hope that these players will eventually turn into superstars in the league especially when they have a hard time attracting top free agents. When asked why she thinks the Lakers can’t attract top names like Kevin Durant,
“I think each player is different,” Buss answered.” And you can’t just say they’re all forsaking the Lakers. I think each individual chose the situation that was right for them. Where the Lakers were at that time wasn’t right for any of those guys.”
The Lakers have put together a formidable team. They may not compete for the playoffs, but they have a chance to compete for every game. The fans know this and Jeanie Buss knows this.
“I think the free agents that we have are the exact pieces that the Lakers need to get back to Lakers basketball,” Buss said. “Which is winning.”
You can listen to the entire interview here