LeBron James still hasn’t held a press conference since deciding to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, but Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka answered questions and explained why they signed players like James, Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee in a presser on Wednesday.
Pelinka said that when James speaks to reporters in the offseason is “up to him and his management team.”
The Rob Lowe look-alike, Pelinka, started his presser by reading a passage from the same book James was seen reading during the 2018 Eastern Conference finals, The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Pelinka added that Kobe Bryant was the one who first gave him the book and told him to read it when he took the job with the Lakers.
Here’s the part of the book he felt inspired by the night before and what he had to say about it – plus other interesting things Pelinka said:
Pelinka: “‘But the young boy was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.’
“I think our hope is that there were a lot of decisions made this offseason. Hopefully it will lead to things for our Lakers fans, for our team, for Jeanie, her family, for Ervin, myself, Luke Walton and all our players of things happening that are bigger than our dreams could ever imagine.”
Pelinka: “We wanted to add basketball IQ and playoff toughness to our roster, and he brings that. He’s a player that has thrived in playoff moments, and we see this as a playoff roster and a playoff team, so he was essential for us to add.”
Pelinka: “Lance Stephenson is a player that just brings an extreme toughness and an edge. If you study championship and playoff teams of the past, you look at Michael Jordan having a player like Dennis Rodman. You look at Kobe’s teams with Metta. Having a tough player that brings an edge to the game like Lance is a really nice ingredient that I think, with LeBron’s leadership, will pervade to our young core, and just give them a sense of swagger and toughness.”
Pelinka: “JaVale McGee, simply put, he changes the geometry of the game. His combination of speed and length and athleticism is so unique and so hard to find, and Magic and I had so many conversations leading up to our signings, conversations with Luke too, about how for us to play the style we want, we need a rim roller and a rim protector … JaVale’s just gonna open up so many lanes for us.”
Pelinka: “We all know when you’re hanging around youth, it’s exciting. I keep thinking it’s gonna add fuel to his rocket pack, just to be around young, energetic guys that play fast and play hard. There’s an innocence to being able to shape them and mold them. I think that a player at LeBron’s career stage, it’s gonna be really incredible for him to feel like he’s giving back to the game and helping shape these young guys.
“He didn’t necessarily have that experience the way the Cleveland team was built, so we purposefully wanted this team to be built very differently from the past ones that he’s played with. I really think that the youth is gonna be a mutually beneficial thing to him, just to bring joy back to him … and then of course the influence he’s gonna have on making those guys better. We’ve seen that here before with Magic shaping a team, with Kobe shaping a team. Now it’s LeBron’s turn to have a blank canvas to put his imprint on the DNA of this team.”
Pelinka: “Gosh, I think the overwhelming feeling that we have right now here the way things played out is gratitude. I don’t think any of us are counting losses. We feel incredibly fortunate and grateful. We were prepared for all the different scenarios that could unfold at midnight that night, but to sit here today and to think about this roster, it’s 100 percent feelings of accomplishment, gratitude, thankfulness and not really looking at things that didn’t break our way.”
Pelinka: “We want to be on the pathway, and right now, that has to go through Golden State, but we don’t get caught up in the game of trying to build a team just to beat one other team. We want to build a team that can beat all 29 other teams.”