After trading three players in a deal to acquire Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to revamp the roster in a major way.
Los Angeles had over 10 free agents entering the market, which made matters more complicated in terms of retaining key pieces to the roster. Alex Caruso was a vital rotational reserve who departed to the Chicago Bulls on a four-year, $37 million deal because the Lakers didn’t want to pay him that.
So far, the Lakers have pursued several win-now veterans on minimum deals to round out the roster in hopes of optimizing the open championship window with LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the helm.
Veterans like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Wayne Ellington, Trevor Ariza and Kent Bazemore have all joined L.A. to win a title.
But the moves have generated criticism from the NBA world because of the collective age of the majority of the roster.
Westbrook and Bazemore are 32; Ellington is 33; Howard is 35; James, Ariza and Marc Gasol, who confirmed he’ll stay for another season, are 36; Anthony is the most experienced at 37.
James took to his Twitter to respond to those criticisms involving the age of the roster, via SportsCenter:
It’s certainly important to have a balance between veterans and younger players. Davis, 28, checks that box. The Lakers also added Malik Monk (23), Kendrick Nunn (26) and re-signed Talen Horton-Tucker (20) to add to the young talent on the squad.
Los Angeles’ reasoning for signing these veterans is clear: They’re pushing all the chips on the table to win the franchise’s 18th championship with James still leading the way.