Rob Pelinka says Lakers roster has been constructed to compete with the Warriors

After the Los Angeles Lakers pulled off the biggest free agent signing of the summer by landing LeBron James, they surprised everybody with the players they signed immediately after to play alongside him.

The decision to bring in his arch nemesis Lance Stephenson definitely came as the biggest shock but the acquisitions of Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee also raised eyebrows.

As well as that trio, the Lakers also re-signed Kenatavious Caldwell-Pope.

Experts soon questioned the team’s thinking behind these moves, particularly because of the lack of three-point shooting that they possess.

General manager Rob Pelinka held a press conference on Wednesday to answer those questions and explain the reasons for signing these specific players.

Eyes on the Warriors

Pelinka stated that their aim is to compete with the Golden State Warriors next season and believes they have to devise a plan to not fall into the “trap” of trying to beat them at their own game.

Over the last four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers have surrounded LeBron with shooters and always looked to go toe to toe with the men from the Bay Area franchise.

But Pelinka says the Lakers are looking to build a team “very differently than the past ones” the superstar has been on.

“If your goal is to win a championship, you’ve got to look at the way the champs are assembled and how you can give yourself the best chance to take them down,” Pelinka said of the construction of the Lakers’ current roster, per ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

“It is certainly part of the equation. … [President of basketball operations] Earvin [Johnson] and I had a conversation and LeBron echoed this sentiment: I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap.

“No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defence and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage.”

The likes of Rondo and Stephenson have been in many playoff battles and have developed reputations as tough defenders who get under opponents’ skin.

Stephenson’s most famous postseason encounters came against James as the two built up a rivalry during their matchups against each other.

Nobody envisaged that the pair could ever become teammates but Pelinka believes it can work like it has done for superstars in past teams.

“If you study championship and playoff teams of the past, if you look at Michael Jordan having a player like Dennis Rodman, look at Kobe [Bryant]’s teams with Metta [World Peace], having a tough player that brings an edge to the game like Lance is a really nice ingredient,” Pelinka said.

“That, I think, with LeBron’s leadership will pervade to our young core as well and just give them a sense of swagger and toughness.”

Many people may be scratching their heads at LA’s signings but it’s clear that they have a vision and King James believes in it.

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