At perhaps the lowest point in the franchise's storied history, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss looked to the familiar past to help save the future.
When Magic Johnson was named President of Basketball Operations in February in part of a wholesale front-office overhaul, the Lakers announced a major change in direction.
While sports agent Rob Pelinka was named General Manager, it's clear that Johnson will be making the final decisions on personnel, and he's already made his mark on the team. Just before the deadline, Johnson dealt guard Lou Williams - who was Los Angeles' best scorer - to the Houston Rockets for forward Corey Brewer and the Rockets' first round pick in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft.
The move signaled a break from the Lakers tradition of trying to remain competitive no matter what and depending on big-name free agents.
Johnson clearly intends to rebuild this team with young talent and acquisitions, that much is known. But earlier tonight at the NBA Combine, Johnson let slip a surprising revelation that may hint at his plans for the future of the Lakers.
"I'm really looking to keep the cap space that we have and really try to play in next years free agent class and not in this years free agent class," Johnson commented.
That's not exactly the kind of information you want to divulge in public or to other teams, but it's an extremely interesting tidbit.
With a young, inexperienced core built around D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, the Lakers are clearly not ready to go all in next season. Though they could clear the cap space and try to lure a guard like Chris Paul or Kyle Lowry this offseason, Johnson clearly has his eyes set on a bigger prize.
After next season, several contracts will be off the books - including Corey Brewer, Tarik Black, Nick Young and Jose Calderon - allowing Johnson to go after big name free agents such as DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Russell Westbrook and DeAndre Jordan.
And if Johnson can somehow unload the expensive Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov contracts, the Lakers could potentially sign two of those names to complement the young core that will just be tapping into its true potential. Add in that Rockets first-round pick that Johnson shrewdly acquired, and you've got the makings of a championship team.