Lakers News: Kevin Durant Salutes LeBron James, Latest on Roster AdditionsJuly 26, 2018
The buzz surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers is finally starting to settle.
In past years this was a bad thing as the front office failed to make any major splashes and had to stick with the slow-burning rebuild as opposed to the instant-gratification ways instilled over decades of contention.
Not this time—the Lakers got LeBron James. They didn't do much else after the fact besides add savvy veterans like Rajon Rondo, but it's hard to complain considering the offseason featured such oddities as Paul George choosing to stick with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kawhi Leonard becoming a member of the Toronto Raptors.
The fallout, at least, is more entertaining than in year's past.
Durant Salutes James
Kevin Durant knows all about leaving one beloved team and joining a potential powerhouse.
A trailblazer (but not the Portland kind) of sorts in this area, Durant managed to become a villain in the minds of some after choosing to leave the Thunder and join the Golden State Warriors.
James hasn't yet faced the same sort of backlash for his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Lakers, though it probably helps he brought a championship to his hometown team this time before deciding to leave again.
Backlash or not, Durant hasn't remained silent on the topic and has nothing but good things to say about the move by James, as he told Marc Spears of The Undefeated (h/t NBA.com):
"I loved it. I absolutely loved it. I thought it was the perfect decision, perfect move, did everything he was supposed to do in Cleveland. I think this is the perfect next step for him, and he's kinda breaking down the barriers of what an NBA superstar is supposed to be. You feel like you're just supposed to play it out in one spot. I think he did a good job of giving different chapters. I think it's gonna make his book even more interesting when it's done."
Remember, this even comes with Durant watching as James joins his Western Conference and potentially makes it more difficult for his Warriors to even reach the Finals.
But maybe Durant is right and this is the latest move solidifying the evolution of the NBA. James will still have to deal with Kobe Bryant loyalty and random people vandalizing murals around the city of Los Angeles, but he has the full backing of some of the game's biggest players—even if his movement could hurt them on the court.
The real fun begins when we find out how much Durant and James like each other on the court next season.
Michael Beasley Ready to Impress
This one wasn't easy to see coming.
Adding players like Rondo made sense. The Lakers wanted to surround James with battle-tested veterans who have been through it all and won't choke when the big moment arrives—something teams around him have seemed to lack in recent years.
Then there is Beasley.
Beasley, who has played for four different teams over the last four seasons and six overall since his career started in 2008-09, is the latest big-name add to the roster and an unexpected one at that.
For Beasley, he couldn't ignore what Magic Johnson was selling on the phone because joining the Lakers is "the chance to be part of something special," according to Joey Ramirez of NBA.com. He also thinks the rest of the NBA is overlooking the supporting cast surrounding James.
"You have 14 guys other than LeBron James who know how to play basketball," Beasley said. "And I think you have 29 teams overlooking the fact that they know how to play basketball."
Beasley doesn't figure to get a ton of playing time considering the crowded depth chart at forward already featuring James and Kyle Kuzma, among others. But he did quietly have a rebound season with New York last year, averaging 13.2 points and 5.6 rebounds over 22.3 minutes while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor and 39.5 percent from deep.
Point being, Beasley is another supporting cast member who can come in and effectively put up numbers for the Lakers. Controversy-free lately, Lakers fans have to hope Beasley is on the money with his recent comments about joining the team.
Travis Wear Returns
General housekeeping is the name of the game for the Lakers at this point.
After adding notables like Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lance Stephenson and now Michael Beasley, the name recognition of moves was only going to decrease.
The latest addition is now Travis Wear, a 27-year-old forward who appeared in 17 games with the team last year:
Wear clearly looked good in the G League a year ago, so from a developmental standpoint, the Lakers want to give him another shot. Over his 17 games last year, he averaged 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game over 13.4 minutes, shooting the 36.2 percent from deep.
A local product, Wear spent two seasons outside the NBA after playing 51 games with the New York Knicks in 2014-15. He's a quality, well-known way to fill out a roster spot for training camp, and the two-way nature of the deal gives the team options before the season begins.