After the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James, there was a sense of accomplishment that resounded for obvious reasons, but Rob Pelinka wants it known they’re nowhere near done.
“We don’t celebrate signings,” Pelinka said to reporters in a press conference aired by Spectrum SportsNet. “We don’t celebrate roster additions. We celebrate championships... Our ultimate celebration is to win an NBA championship. Of course we’re going to take pleasure, (because) as I opened with, it’s the ultimate validation for a player like LeBron to choose to come here, so that is a celebration, just not an ultimate celebration.”
It’s pretty clear that first and foremost, LeBron doesn’t want fanfare around this decision. He skipped out on a potential public appearance at Blaze Pizza Tuesday, and this thing is going to go as he wants it to. Pelinka’s quote sounds cool, but if LeBron wanted to celebrate his decision with Lakers fans, they would absolutely be celebrating this signing.
Also, here’s a friendly reminder that the Lakers’ next moves were to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (fine), Rajon Rondo (um, okay) and Lance Stephenson (*curse words*) while letting Brook Lopez and Julius Randle walk, netting nothing in return for a player who grew immensely during his time as a Laker.
Pelinka’s quote above highlights how disappointing those moves have been. You could very easily argue that had the Lakers done nothing but bring back key aspects of last year’s team along with adding James that there would be more reason to celebrate than the way things played out the rest of this offseason.
During the press conference, he did offer explanations for the signings and we won’t really know how things will fit together until they all get onto the court together, but as of right now, it’s hard not to wish Pelinka, Magic Johnson and the rest of the front office took a victory lap and returned in time to keep important aspects of the roster together rather than the moves they wound up making.
Laker fans hoping this season isn’t dedicated to merely kicking the can into next summer for another superstar have to really hope guys like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and the rest of the kids are ready to carry a heavy load.
If not, yeesh.