Lakers Rumors: LAL's Signings Part of Plan Pitched to LeBron James

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2018

FILE - In this April 29, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives against Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson (1) in the first half of Game 7 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Sunday, April 29, 2018, in Cleveland. The appeal for James to stay home is different now than it was eight years ago when he bolted for Miami. He’s more matured, and with three children and a burgeoning business empire, his priorities, responsibilities and goals are different. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly pitched LeBron James on the vision behind the moves they made in free agency after he agreed to sign with them on a four-year deal.

According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst and Ramona Shelburne, team president Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka consulted James on their ensuing agreements with Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Rajon Rondo

When the Lakers brass met with James last Saturday, the two sides reportedly agreed on the importance of bringing in players capable of creating shots for themselves and their teammates.

Since James' supporting cast with the Cleveland Cavaliers last season was primarily made up of shooters with limited defensive abilities, Johnson pitched the idea that players such as Stephenson and Rondo, who are "tough-minded playmakers" and strong defensively, would be good fits alongside LeBron.

Stephenson has long been a nemesis of James, dating back to the early part of the decade. Stephenson plays James physically and has employed some strange antics, such as blowing in his ear.

The 26-year-old is a versatile player who can stuff the stat sheet, as evidenced by his averaging 9.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game with the Indiana Pacers last season. However, Stephenson only made 28.9 percent of his three-point attempts in 2017-18, and he is at his best when he drives toward the basket.

Rondo likewise isn't a great long-range shooter, but he is among the NBA's best passers.

He put up 8.3 points, 8.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game with the New Orleans Pelicans last season, and he got even better in the playoffs, much like James. In nine playoff contests, Rondo averaged 10.3 points, 12.2 assists and 7.6 rebounds, and he was a big factor in the Pels sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the playoffs.

Rondo can also be a mentor to young point guard Lonzo Ball, who didn't shoot the ball well as a rookie but impacted the game in other ways similar to Rondo.

McGee is a punch line at times due to his propensity for boneheaded plays, but last season with the Golden State Warriors, he averaged 18.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per 36 minutes.

The Lakers lacked a defensive force in the paint last season, and while McGee is at his best in small doses, he should bring some much-needed energy on defense.

With LeBron surrounded by the experience and toughness of L.A.'s new signings as well as the youthful exuberance of Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, there is a lot more to like about his supporting cast with the Lakers than there was on a Cleveland team that grew stale.