The Los Angeles Lakers have young talent, but with the acquisition of LeBron James, the team is now being built around him. General manager Rob Pelinka confirmed as much, when asked about the starting lineup today.
Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball may be former No. 2 picks, and Kyle Kuzma may be coming off of a surprise breakout rookie season. However, LeBron is the only one whose place in the starting five is secure.
According to Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Bresnahan, Pelinka said as much earlier this week:
Four Laker starting spots are up for grabs.
Said Rob Pelinka: “We’re really excited about camp this year because Luke (Walton) has decided… we’re going to have an incredibly competitive camp and all the spots are going to be open spots, putting aside LeBron James, obviously.”
— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) July 10, 2018
Pelinka’s comments raise more questions about how the LeBron James addition will impact Lonzo Ball, and his father LaVar Ball, of course.
Without LeBron coming to town, it is highly unlikely that the team goes on to sign Rajon Rondo. Pelinka’s comments make it seem like Rondo has a shot to win the job over the soon-to-be second year player.
Ball’s meniscus injury, which is believed to have been leaked by the family’s camp, could hurt him, as he will have less time on the court to prepare for the season. LaVar has denied that he leaked news of the injury.
LaVar Ball has already started to belittle Rondo, calling the four-time all-star and NBA Champion a “another teammate” and “little backup” in an interview with CNN. If Rondo wins the starting job, or is even the guy with the ball in his hands late in games, it is hard to imagine that Ball will not be an even bigger distraction this season.
For what it is worth, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the network’s resident LeBron-whisperer, says that the new Lakers superstar is a fan of Lonzo’s game.
With all of these players, as well as other interesting veteran presences like Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee, on the team, the Lakers are sure to be entertaining this season. Whether that translates into them being good is a whole other question.