Magic Johnson: Lakers to consult with LeBron James on moves

Magic Johnson says LeBron James' arrival has taken the Los Angeles Lakers' three-year rebuilding plan to "a whole 'nother level" and that the team plans to remain disciplined and maintain salary-cap space to pursue another max free agent next summer.



 The Lakers president of basketball operations said the team's rebuilding timetable remains on track to take another significant step next season. "If we feel there's somebody out there or a deal to be made to make our team better, then we'll do it as long as it's a great deal for us," Johnson said during a conference call Friday. "If it's not, we have our team and we'll go to battle, go to war with this team. We feel really good about this team.

 "Then we'll have enough room for next summer to give another player a max deal. [General manager] Rob [Pelinka] and I, we already put the strategy together. LeBron, of course, changed some of that, but we're still going to stay disciplined and hope we'll be a team that can have a championship run for a long time."Magic Johnson says LeBron James' arrival has taken the Los Angeles Lakers' three-year rebuilding plan to "a whole 'nother level" and that the team plans to remain disciplined and maintain salary-cap space to pursue another max free agent next summer.

 The Lakers president of basketball operations said the team's rebuilding timetable remains on track to take another significant step next season. "If we feel there's somebody out there or a deal to be made to make our team better, then we'll do it as long as it's a great deal for us," Johnson said during a conference call Friday. "If it's not, we have our team and we'll go to battle, go to war with this team. We feel really good about this team.

 "Then we'll have enough room for next summer to give another player a max deal. [General manager] Rob [Pelinka] and I, we already put the strategy together. LeBron, of course, changed some of that, but we're still going to stay disciplined and hope we'll be a team that can have a championship run for a long time."

Calling him the "greatest player" and "greatest leader in sports," Johnson said the Lakers will lean on James and consult with him when contemplating new additions. "It's not about influence. It's about sitting down with the world's greatest player and picking his brain and saying, 'You're playing in the game today,'" Johnson said. "Just like when I was playing,

[late owner] Dr. [Jerry] Buss and [former Lakers GM] Jerry West would come to me when we were thinking about making moves. ... It's gonna be the same way here. We're gonna go to LeBron and say if there's a deal to be made for guys available, we'll say to him, 'What do you think about this guy? You know him. You play against him. You know the backstory and everything about the guy.' "That's why you have guys that are superstars in this league.

You want to have a line of communication and want to know what they're thinking. LeBron, we've done that with the guys we brought in. He's done an excellent job of giving us great feedback. We will continue to do that. The ultimate decision-maker on the team and who we bring in is me. I take that to [Lakers president] Jeanie [Buss] and see what she says and whether she signs off or not." While Johnson is confident about the pieces added around James, he did say it could take "probably closer to two months" for James, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to learn how to play alongside Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope -- a core that went 35-47 last season.

 "I think one thing that we have to, and the fans have to be patient about, is the chemistry on the court," Johnson said. "Because we're putting together, basically all these guys will be new to each other, playing with each other, right? So it's probably going to take us at least a month or two, probably closer to two months, to really understand how to play with each other and how to feed each other, all those things.

 "We saw that LeBron and Miami struggled for the first two months or so when he was in Miami, then they finally got together and they were a championship-caliber team. And I'm sure when he went back to Cleveland in the beginning, they struggled until they got to know each other and then they were a championship-caliber team. It will be no different here.

We'll struggle to understand how to play with each other and where everybody likes the ball and those types of things, but eventually we'll get it together and I feel we'll be one of the best teams in the West."

Source: Kwese

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