Speaking to Sam Amico of The Athletic, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reflected on the past offseason and how everything fell in place for the franchise.
It’s an open secret that the Los Angeles Lakers were among the suitors for Kawhi Leonard as a free agent last summer. The Klaw granted meetings to the Toronto Raptors as well, before deciding to sign with his hometown Clippers.
Among the conditions that Kawhi had was that the Clippers had to acquire a supporting star alongside him – something he would already have had with the Lakers.
The Anthony Davis trade and its impact on Kawhi Leonard move
The Anthony Davis trade saga began early last season and stretched on till the start of offseason. It was seen by many people as the Lakers giving up too much of their roster depth in pursuit of a superstar.
Many felt they would need another All Star or superstar to make waves in the playoffs.
Jeanie Buss spoke about how the Kawhi Leonard free agency decision delayed their decisions, but in the end everything fell in place.
“It was really the right thing for us to do, because when you have somebody like LeBron James, and where he is in his career, you’ve got to go all in. We then went through free agency, which was a little odd just because decisions (Kawhi’s) were being, you know, kind of stretched long. But I think we recovered well from the delay.” Jeanie Buss said.
Jeanie Buss on Rob Pelinka’s vision
She also went onto say that Rob Pelinka’s vision with the team was brilliant. He made sure that the Lakers had enough depth in their roster to go small or big. The different kind of players that were recruited were done keeping in mind the playoffs and how the Lakers will need to adjust to their opponents.
Let’s talk about Jeanie buss being potentially the first female nba owner to hold up the Larry O’Brien trophy…. pic.twitter.com/IQwV9iKCAz
— ☥Supreme Greatness ☥ (@TheBlack_God) September 29, 2020
“And you know, the roster that (Lakers vice president of basketball operations) Rob Pelinka put together, really you’re now seeing what the vision was, because it is a versatile team that can go big, can go small, and that doesn’t really show until you’re in the playoffs. Well, we hadn’t been in the playoffs for so long it was really hard to see what the vision was and where we were going.”
“But now that we’re in the playoffs, you can see how the versatility of the lineups (works). And that’s really a testament to our front office being led by Rob Pelinka.” she added.
In the end, Kawhi not signing with the Lakers turned out to be good news for their depth. It meant that they were able to add the likes of Danny Green, Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard while keeping Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. These players have played an instrumental role in their Finals run.