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Grading the Lakers' 5 free agent signings thus far

SENIOR ANALYST
Feature
12.50K   //    03 Jul 2018, 21:35 IST

Kuzma, Hart, Bryant Press Conference
Pelinka and Magic have made for a pretty good front office pairing

Having failed to make the playoffs for 5 consecutive seasons (with most of them coming under former President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss), the Lakers needed a rejig of their roster situation. They began their rebuilding efforts anew late last season, firing Jim Buss and appointing Magic Johnson in his position.

Magic and GM Rob Pelinka made a number of moves in the offseason of 2017, which included trading away Timofey Mozgov's terrible contract while obtaining Brook Lopez's expiring deal from the Brooklyn Nets. They'd already drafted Lonzo Ball with the #2 pick, which mellowed the loss of fellow #2 pick D'Angelo Russell. In addition, they signed a number of veterans to big paydays on one-year contracts with a move to making moves this summer.

The Lakers have made a great start to the offseason, dropping the bombshell of LeBron James' move to LA right on Day 1. Other than him, they've also made some shrewd moves to set up talent alongside him and theoretically can still sign or trade for a max contract free agent. What follows now is a grading of their performance in the offseason thus far, for which we'll consider these 3 parameters:

(a) Talent level of the acquisition

(b) Size of his contract

(c) Fit with the team

#1 LeBron James - A+

2018 NBA Finals - Game Four
LeBron at the post-game presser following the 2018 NBA Finals, Game 4

Despite Magic Johnson's best attempts to disguise his intentions through the course of the 2017-18 season, it was obvious to the casual onlooker that the Lakers were going to try and land the biggest fish in the pond, who just happens to be the indomitable King James.

LeBron signed a 4-year,$154 million max deal that puts the Lakers in prime position to take a high seed to the Western Conference Playoffs next year. James put in one of the best statistical seasons for any player in any era last year during the regular season, and he raised the bar several notches during the playoffs, averaging an otherworldly 34 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists.

James will raise their profile off the court as well, as the most marketable star of the league in the planet. All-in-all, there is every reason for Lakers to love this signing, which could go down as one of the most impactful ones in their history.


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SENIOR ANALYST
Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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