Once the Los Angeles Lakers got word that Kawhi Leonard would be spurning them for the Clippers, general manager Rob Pelinka quickly moved on to his contingency plan and, quite frankly, put together a very respectable roster.
During a conference call with reporters, Pelinka was asked whether he consulted LeBron James and Anthony Davis while filling out the roster. As you’d expect, he did — though he didn’t want to go into too much detail.
“Anytime as a general manager when you have stars on your team -- especially guys that have the basketball IQ and understanding of the game that Anthony Davis and LeBron have, of course you’re going to be tapping into them as partners,” Pelinka said.
Pelinka’s approach here makes sense with Davis and James specifically, but generally speaking (as he explains), superstars’ input is valued and taken into account across the NBA. The Lakers are no different.
“We view our relationships here with our star players as partnerships and I know Anthony and LeBron are excited about the 14 guys and how we’re going to come together, and their input is — both of their input, Anthony’s and LeBron’s — has been incredibly valuable to me,” Pelinka said.
And if you don’t want to take Pelinka’s word on whether James and Davis played a role in putting the team together, well, look no further than Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Rajon Rondo’s names on the roster.
Given the extent to which Klutch Sports has helped the Lakers in pairing James with Davis, it would be outright weird if the Lakers drew a hard line in the sand as it pertained to the extent to which James and Davis would be involved in other decisions. Quinn Cook also said James put in a call for him, which is kind of funny to think about.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t particularly matter who had input where, so long as everyone is on the same page. This roster is world’s better than last year’s and has a chance at legitimate competition heading into this season. Hell, Frank Vogel said he’s going to work with James on figuring out how best to coach the team, too, and even that’s perfectly fine, so long as other players don’t feel alienated and the input is what’s best for the team.
As long as everyone is working towards the goal, — a championship, per Pelinka — well, all that matters is that they attain said goal, not who made the choices to get them there.