The Los Angeles Lakers had to go to plan B when Kawhi Leonard opted to sign with their cross-town rivals. That involved using their $32 million in cap space to sign several depth pieces to fill out a roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
After a disastrous free agency period last year, the Lakers did much better this time around to sign players who could play with their two superstars. In fact, it appears as though both James and Davis were highly involved in the process, as Davis told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols:
ESPN: How often did you, LeBron and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka talk on the phone during that crazy week of free agency?
AD: Oh, all the time. It was, like, every 30 to 45 minutes, Rob would be callin’ me.
ESPN: No, come on.
AD: No, seriously. Rob would call me: “AD, what you think about him?” “All right, cool.” Right back, “AD, you know, this is what is going on with him.” “All right, cool. All right.” Sometimes I had to tell him, like, “Rob, I’m in the movies.” He’d be, like, “All right, well, call me as soon as you get out.” But we’re trying to put the best team around us, and I think he did a great job of doing it.
Davis also told Nichols that he sent texts to Leonard in an effort to recruit him to the Lakers but knew that the Finals MVP was not someone who could really be recruited.
The Lakers have set exceptionally high standards for themselves but they have to reach the playoffs first before they can win a title. James and Davis are enough to win playoff series but you need a complete roster to get to that point and remain healthy.
The organization will be hoping that they created such a roster with the help of their two stars.