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Lakers announce signings of DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, JaVale McGee

Yes, plan A in free agency was objectively better for the Lakers obviously, but they had a backup plan and have executed it thus far.

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Golden State Warriors v LA Lakers Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images

Once news dropped that the Los Angeles Lakers had missed out on Kawhi Leonard and he would be playing across the hall for the LA Clippers, Rob Pelinka and the rest of the organization had some work to do to piece together a roster that will have to compete next season.

Thus far, they’ve announced the Anthony Davis trade and now the signings and re-signings of DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook and JaVale McGee. Alex Caruso, Jared Dudley, Rajon Rondo and Troy Daniels have also reportedly come to terms with the team, but have not been announced yet, likely because the team is waiting to fill all its cap space before announcing players they’re using cap exceptions on.

Let’s go down the line on the guys they’ve confirmed here.

Cousins can absolutely outplay his contract value (reportedly $3.5 million). The question here isn’t about talent, it’s about health and his willingness to accept the role that best fits this team. The Lakers’ best lineups will likely have LeBron James at the four and Davis at the five, so where that leaves Cousins and McGee is a legitimate question.

Speaking of McGee, he started the year playing extremely well, caught a pneumonia and (understandably) fell off from that point. If he plays the way he did to start the year last year, he’ll play an important role as the team’s likely starting center.

Green will offer the kind of shooting the Lakers lacked last season. He’s coming off a campaign where he was among the league leaders in offensive and net rating (117.7 and 13.4, respectively), and should his 46 percent three-point shooting carry over from last year. Green will probably be the team’s starting shooting guard.

Caldwell-Pope will likely come off the bench behind Green, and probably fall into a role that makes a little more sense for his talent level. One annoying trend was his up-and-down play while games still mattered, and the way it improved more consistently as soon as the stakes disappeared for last year’s team. As the Lakers will start the year as title contenders, he’ll have to play well while the team still cares about winning.

Cook will space the floor as a point guard in lineups that need to put points on the scoreboard. He isn’t very good defensively and isn’t a primary creator, but in lineups featuring Davis, James and Cousins, Cook fits in as a guard teams can’t shade off of.

More notable than any one player here, though, is the plan the Lakers apparently had and executed as soon as they found out Leonard wasn’t coming. This goes to show they entered the offseason with a primary plan, and also had a viable backup in case free agency didn’t play out optimally.

Are the Lakers as good now as they would have been had Leonard signed? Of course not. But they are undeniably better than last year and, unlike last season, this roster at least kind of makes sense. We’ll see what other moves are still on the way as the buyout and eventual trade markets take form, but for now, this is very much a team fans can look forward to watching.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. Here is a list of every free agent credibly connected to the Lakers so far.

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