The Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely active over the past week. Despite winning an NBA championship this year, the front office is not sitting on its laurels. Team general manager Rob Pelinka very clearly isn’t satisfied with just one title – he wants to build a dynasty that will stand the test of time even when LeBron James moves on.
Pelinka kicked things off with a bang by orchestrating a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder centered around Dennis Schroder. In return, the Lakers sent out Danny Green and the No. 28 selection.
After that the Lakers promptly went out and signed Wesley Matthews on a one-year, $3.6 million contract to fill the void left behind by Green.
Late Friday, word emerged that the Lakers were losing backup center Dwight Howard to the Philadelphia 76ers. It seemed like a legitimate blow to the squad’s bench. Of course, the disappointment lasted all of five minutes, because the team subsequently went out and secured reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year award winner Montrezl Harrell to a two-year contract worth $19 million.
Shortly after all of the Lakers’ moves were revealed, franchise legend Magic Johnson weighed in on what he was seeing.
“With the additions of Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder and Wes Matthews Jr., the Lakers will be younger and more talented than last seasons’s championship team and on their way to a repeat,” he tweeted.
With the additions of Montrezl Harrell, Dennis Schroder and Wes Matthews Jr., the @Lakers will be younger and more talented than last seasons’s championship team and on their way to a repeat!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 21, 2020
It is difficult to argue with Johnson’s assessment. Not only are the players coming in arguably better than the ones going out, but they are also younger.
You love to see it. https://t.co/rfGuc5GNwi
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 21, 2020
What that means is that the organization is now in a place where it is simultaneously building a championship-contending squad around James and Anthony Davis, and preparing for the post-LeBron Era when Davis will be the team’s sole focal point.
Last year, Harrell averaged 18.6 points on 58 percent shooting from the field and 7.1 rebounds in 27.8 minutes per game off the bench for the Los Angeles Clippers.
Matthews, meanwhile, averaged 7.2 points on 36.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc in 67 games for the Milwaukee Bucks last year.
Paulina Gretzky knows how to celebrate. https://t.co/CH5WJHxifE
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 20, 2020
Schroeder, finally, averaged 18.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 65 games for the Thunder last season. He finished second in NBA Sixth Man Award voting behind his new teammate, Harrell.
The Lakers are looking stacked heading into the 2020-21 NBA season.
Will that translate into another championship? Time will tell.