The Lakers have LeBron James. Good for them. They now also have a handful of guys who seem like ideal targets to absorb LeBron’s ire.
Since James agreed to a deal Sunday night, JaVale McGee, Lance Stephenson, and Rajon Rondo have all signed one-year deals with the Lakers. While McGee is a pretty useful big man and probably unfairly still followed by a reputation of being a bonehead, Stephenson and Rondo both have histories as antagonists who aren’t exactly fans of James. They’re all on short contracts, so if they don’t become part of an affordable, effective bench—and if any backbiting starts surfacing in anonymous sourced reports—they can be jettisoned.
Apparently team executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are not veering from any original plan, because the Lakers’ best player is fine with it, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. LeBron really must trust the Lakers!
In other moves, the Lakers signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, also a client of James’s agent Rich Paul, to a one-year deal, and renounced restricted free agent Julius Randle. Renounced!
This is a very weird team. As it stands now, Lonzo Ball and Rondo would play point; one has trouble shooting and one seems actually allergic to it. The unresolved Kawhi Leonard trade rumors are still wafting in the air and a trade with the Spurs could settle who’s actually staying in L.A. and who was too early with his celebratory tweet about getting to play with LeBron. (Not that this means anything at all, but Ball and Kyle Kuzma have been openly pumped about their new teammate, while small forward and obvious trade candidate Brandon Ingram has stayed mum.) As we wait for the rest of the Lakers’ moves to unfold, watch Brian “And He Is So Strong” Windhorst become flabbergasted after hearing the Rondo news: