Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers built their team with the Warriors in mind: 'If your goal is to win a championship ...'


The Lakers built their team with the Warriors in mind: 'If your goal is to win a championship ...'

When you win the LeBron James sweepstakes, that's a good thing.

But since LeBron announced he was joining the Lakers, Los Angeles has -- according to many in the basketball world -- made some peculiar additions.

Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee will suit up for the Lakers in 2018-19.

On Thursday, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was asked about the team's roster construction.

"If your goal is to win a championship, you've got to look at the way the champs are assembled and how you can give yourself the best chance to take them down," Pelinka explained to reporters. "Earvin (Magic Johnson) and I had a conversation, and LeBron echoed this sentiment: I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap.

"No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defense and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage."

The Lakers thus far have been unable to pry Kawhi Leonard away from San Antonio, and Paul George decided to stay in Oklahoma City. As a result, it was smart to sign guys to one-year deals to maintain flexibility for next summer when several stars will be free agents.

But the question remains if the players who signed those one-year contracts will be able to seriously help LeBron make the Lakers a contender next season.

"We wanted tough two-way players that can defend with a level of toughness and also make shots," Pelinka added. "Listen, the road to the NBA championship has to go through the team that won last year, and we all know the guys up north have a special group. But one of the ways to attack what they have is with defensive toughness. I think we saw that in the Houston series with some of the players that Houston has.

"And we identified with, if you look at KCP was a guy that is a tough defender and shooter, Josh Hart has proven to be a pit bull of a defender and can make shots, Rondo historically has been a tenacious, tough guy, steals. We wanted that mentality, and we identified it.

"Lance Stephenson, he will agitate you, he will get under you, he will cause you to get out of your game and can play in the open court and score."

Lance also might continue to agitate LeBron ...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Luke Walton 'missed the corn hole' because of LeBron's decision

Luke Walton 'missed the corn hole' because of LeBron's decision

Where were you on Sunday, July 1 when LeBron James rocked the basketball world by announcing he was joining the Lakers?

Former Warriors assistant coach and current Lakers head coach Luke Walton had just returned to his Manhattan Beach home and was getting ready for a family barbecue ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

"I had just gotten back from the office, it was a beautiful Manhattan Beach day, and we had just opened up the pool cover and were getting ready to have a nice Sunday barbecue with a couple friends. We had corn hole being played in the backyard," Walton told ESPN recently.

That's when the career-changing news came down. LeBron's Klutch Sports Group had announced on Twitter that he had agreed to a four-year deal with the Lakers.

The news curtailed Walton's fun Sunday afternoon plans.

"I think I spent the next eight-and-a-half hours on the telephone. Missed my whole Sunday family barbecue. Missed the corn hole. The kids were already asleep by the time I got done taking calls," Walton said.

Now in his third season as Lakers head coach, Walton has a chance to be a part of his childhood team's return to the top of the NBA. He completely understands what it means to have a megastar like LeBron playing under the bright lights in Los Angeles.

"It's gonna be completely nuts, but it's also gonna be awesome. The whole city's gonna be behind us. We're gonna be on SportsCenter every night. If we lose, it's gonna be the end of the world. If we win, it's gonna be wild. But no matter what, it's gonna be fun," Walton said.

When the crazieness had settled down, Walton finally had a chance to reflect on what had just happened.

"I sat under the stars and said to myself, 'Damn, we got LeBron James on our team. The best player in the world is a Laker,'" Walton said.

JaVale McGee chimes in on if Lakers can beat Warriors: 'It's not going to be easy'


JaVale McGee chimes in on if Lakers can beat Warriors: 'It's not going to be easy'

With gold teeth, three braids coming out of the back of his head and rim-rattling dunks, JaVale McGee brough instant excitement to the Warriors. 

The McGee era is over now, but Warriors fans will still see plenty of him. After two years with the Warriors, McGee is teaming up with LeBron James and the Lakers. 

The Lakers should be considerably better than their 35-47 record from this past season. Still, McGee knows how hard it will be for them to take down the Warriors. 

For the past two seasons, the Warriors were represented by four players -- Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green -- at the All-Star Game. This offseason, they added a fifth in All-Star DeMarcus Cousins. 

Good luck, L.A.