Magic already excited by LeBron's offseason impact on Lakers

Magic already excited by LeBron
Magic already excited by LeBron's offseason impact on Lakers  

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Magic Johnson can already see LeBron James' impact on the young Los Angeles Lakers before they've even had a regular practice together.

After just a few weeks of unusually competitive offseason scrimmages, the Lakers' basketball boss can't wait to see how James' leadership will translate into real success.

Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka on Thursday pronounced themselves thrilled with the offseason progress made by their revamped roster and James, their prize free-agent acquisition. The Lakers have been working out together informally at the club's training complex ahead of the start of training camp Tuesday, and Johnson likes what he sees so far.

''Just to see all of them together playing a pickup game, oh my goodness,'' Johnson said. ''It's something to watch. I've watched LeBron from afar. I've been at many of his games. But to watch him in the gym is a whole different thing. How much he makes everybody better, but also how he raises everybody's level of play. His basketball IQ and his leadership ability, it's all on display.''

Lonzo Ball won't be on display in every workout at the start of camp, however. The Lakers' second-year point guard had knee surgery two months ago, and Pelinka said Ball will be held out of five-on-five scrimmages when camp begins, even though he has been fully cleared for all basketball activities.

Johnson and Pelinka praised Ball's offseason work to improve his awkward jump shot by adjusting his shooting mechanics. They also realize Ball has plenty of work to do.

The Lakers are determined to allow Ball to grow into his role as a playmaking leader, and Johnson believes Rajon Rondo will play a mentoring role. Along with James, the Lakers also acquired Rondo, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley to form a new veteran core for a 16-time NBA champion franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2013.

The Lakers' disparate collection of talent will need plenty of time to gel, but Johnson is already seeing it happen in those scrimmages.

''I mean, they are going hard,'' Johnson said. ''It's physical. It's tough. There's trash talking. It's just a lot of fun, and also a lot of teaching at the same time. It's really great to see these young guys getting a chance to learn from champions.''

And as if he needed any reminder, Johnson has witnessed the singular skills of the 33-year-old James, who agreed to a four-year, $154 million free-agent deal.

''LeBron comes in, and he's already in midseason form and shooting fadeaways and 3-pointers from almost half-court,'' Johnson said with a broad grin. ''And you're sitting there saying, 'Man, thank God we signed him.'''

Along with blending their new additions, the Lakers must adjust to the loss of Julius Randle and Brook Lopez. Johnson and Pelinka aren't worried about filling the space left by the departures of those two big men, believing they've got more than enough height to guard anyone.

''We feel we have two players at every position - a starter and then a backup to that person,'' Johnson said.

Added Pelinka: ''A lot of people have said this is one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and that is an extreme strength to us.''


More AP NBA: and


More Related News

NBA Rumors: Lakers
NBA Rumors: Lakers 'rooting' for Kyrie Irving to sign with Nets

NBA Rumors: Lakers 'rooting' for Kyrie Irving to sign with Nets originally appeared on Kyrie-to-Brooklyn rumors have dominated the prelude to NBA free agency, and the Los Angeles Lakers likely are hoping those rumors turn out to be true. Can C's sell Kemba on Boston? That's because Irving to the Nets would open the door for guard D'Angelo Russell to return to L.A. If and when Irving signs with the Nets, they'd likely renounce Russell to make Irving their new star point guard and thus, Russell would become an unrestricted free agent.

Magic Johnson ready to welcome D
Magic Johnson ready to welcome D'Angelo Russell back to Lakers

But now all those guys are gone and he's on another level now. This is peak Johnson - talking about players on other teams (no longer tampering), spinning the story to make himself look good and directing the Lakers' roster without having to take responsibility for it. There is truth to what Johnson is saying here.

Charles Barkley Dunks on LeBron James
Charles Barkley Dunks on LeBron James' Planned 'Space Jam' Reboot: 'We Don't Need 2'

Charles Barkley's mind is made up about the new reboot of "Space Jam," which stars Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. In fact, he's doubling down on his dislike of the new "Looney Toons" movie.ET asked Barkley on Monday at the 2019 NBA Awards whether his opinion had changed since the outlet asked him about the film at last year's event. Barkley replied, "Not at all."Since then, it's been revealed that Ryan Coogler, who directed "Black Panther" and "Creed," would be producing the film and is directed by Terence Nance, who known for "An Over Simplification of Her Beauty." But "Space Jam 2's" new pedigree didn't change the fact that Barkley, who made a cameo in the original film, is...

The Latest: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP honor
The Latest: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP honor

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks has won Most Valuable Player honors at the NBA Awards. The 24-year-old forward from Greece beat out Paul George of Oklahoma City and James Harden of Houston, who won last year. Antetokounmpo earned All-NBA first-team honors this season, his sixth with the

Lonzo Ball: Trade from Lakers to Pelicans
Lonzo Ball: Trade from Lakers to Pelicans 'good news'

Lonzo Ball insists his trade from the Los Angeles Lakers to the New Orleans Pelicans is "good news". The 21-year-old guard was sent from the Lakers to the Pelicans earlier this month - along with Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks - in exchange for Anthony Davis. "You probably heard the news, it's good news in my opinion," Ball said in a video published on Facebook.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Basketball

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.