With the best player on the planet in your team, the expectations can only be off the charts.
Suddenly, the bar is raised and everyone starts looking at the Lakers as a pedigree that is expected to perform at the highest level. It means that there are a few implications for the management.
Every Season Needs Progress
The bright side of the story is that the Lakers are a young team. The upside is huge with so much talent.
That said, the report card in each of the four years of LeBron James’ contract would be validated by a good amount of progress every season. Be it Brandon Ingram having a breakout year into All-Star status. Be it Lonzo Ball averaging 10 assists per game. Be it Kyle Kuzma being a 20 point per night scorer. Be it Josh Hart becoming an elite defender. Every season, the players, team and coach Luke Walton would be under the media microscope.
The only acceptable result that everyone expects is an improvement, season after season.
NBA Playoffs Are Mandatory
LeBron has now made the postseason for more seasons than any active players. He has also made the Finals for eight straight years. Such an unmatched excellence should only continue and you bet LeBron would never allow that streak to end in the Lakers.
The pressure is on the front office and coaching staff to do their utmost best to support this uphill quest, not forgetting that the Lakers are coming off a five-year slump of missing the playoffs. It is code Red in the war room back in the office and owner Jeanie Buss can be expected to actively engage Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka to find the best ways possible to bring out the best from the entire team.
Cut the Players If They Do Not Perform
We have all witnessed that a team that LeBron James is on is prone to quick reshuffles of players, especially when one doesn’t deliver.
Just look at the Cleveland Cavaliers of last four years. Anyone who didn’t seem to mesh well or contribute to the system is quickly traded or waived. The same is true for this current Lakers team.
One Year Deals For Everyone Outside the Young Core
Financial flexibility is a key resource in a team that is headlined by LeBron James.
One of the main reasons for this need is any team is just one or two All-Stars away from contending for the Championship. To keep the Lakers in the mix to lure All-Star players during free agency, having the spare cap space is utmost important. Hence, signing veterans to only one-year deals is a must for the management.
Pay And Retain The Young Core
If it wasn’t any obvious, LeBron adores the Lakers young core. The King has followed the Lakers young core of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram since Summer League last season. Openly complimentary of their talent, hunger and work ethic, LeBron has listed them as one of the supporting reasons for him choosing to call Los Angeles Lakers his new home.
The whole idea of playing ShowTime basketball with fast-paced high octane offense and vigorous defense appeals to LeBron. If Magic and Rob were to keep LeBron, they ought to ensure that they pay the young core handsomely and lock them in for extended years.