Darvin Ham’s offensive plan, Rob Pelinka’s patience in the squad

Darvin Ham’s offensive plan, Rob Pelinka’s patience in the squad

LOS ANGELES — It was a grand opening ceremony in late July for one of the sport’s legendary franchises.

Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was present along with former Laker greats at the team’s practice facility to promote Buss’ documentaries titled Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers, which premiered Monday Hulu to premiere.

It’s a 10-episode series in which Buss quashed the notion that the project wouldn’t have any hard-hitting revelations since it’s an in-house production. “We don’t sugarcoat anything,” she told Yahoo Sports.

Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka was in attendance as a spectator. He stood by the facility as Buss, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and film director Antoine Fuqua discussed the team’s turbulent history from an NBA startup to entering the league’s elite with championship after championship in such a short space of time.

This was the prophecy that the late Dr. Jerry Buss envisioned when he bought the team in 1979.

“When he started, he wanted to take on the Boston Celtics and all their victories,” Buss told Yahoo Sports. “Now, with Ring #17, we’re level with the Celtics in terms of victory [championships]. That’s what he intends to do. And certainly the work is not done yet. We must continue this search and we will.”

And here Pelinka becomes an active participant in trying to lead the Lakers to many more winning seasons.

Meeting with LeBron James

The quest for more championships begins with the Lakers’ greatest player: LeBron James.

James and his agent Rich Paul – CEO of Klutch Sports – met with Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham last week. The 37-year-old is approaching his 20th season in the league. He is eligible for a two-year extension worth $97.1 million.

And while the contract dialogue was broached, much of the hour-long meeting was devoted to voicing concerns and hearing strategies and opinions to ensure last season’s epic failure would not be repeated, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The story goes on

Sources said James highlighted the importance of constant competitiveness and cohesion, noting last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for future Hall of Famers is to compete each night to give each other a chance to compete for a championship.

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers warms up before the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 19, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James recently sat down with general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Darvin Ham to discuss next season. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Ham agreed with James, reiterating that his main goals are to hold everyone accountable and encourage an atmosphere of selflessness, sources said. He expressed that defensive tenacity needs to be addressed throughout the squad and also warned that players would need to play new roles and if he felt any reluctance he would not hesitate to remove them from the game, sources said.

Additionally, the first-year head coach said one crease he will implement and stick with is that offense runs through Anthony Davis, and James agreed, sources said. The team has been encouraged by Davis’ off-season progress and believe he will be in optimal form to avoid serious injury and carry a heavier burden.

The team is also hoping for a percentage increase in Russell Westbrook’s corner 3 shooting next season, sources said.

Speaking of tinkering with the roster, Pelinka explained that patience is key in whatever steps the team takes, sources said. In a concerted effort, all parties seem aligned towards a shared vision to see how the squad develops before drastic steps are taken.

James is setting a goal to host the team’s annual mini-camp before training camp, with San Diego being the likely landing spot over Las Vegas, sources said. He hopes to develop a better relationship with his teammates before entering the 2022-23 season.

The meeting was described as productive and informative.

Pelinka made clear his feelings that he would like James to retire as a Laker and vowed to provide him with whatever resources possible to compete for a championship every year he is with the organization, they said Sources.

The legacy goes on

This is the legacy of the Buss family: idols and titles.

It started with dr. Buss, and now Jeanie Buss is carving her own legacy as the first female owner to win an NBA title. It’s a new cast of characters from the days of Jerry West, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

But the same Lakers legacy lives on.

“There’s a lot more Lakers history to be made, and it’s going to be made by new players and new coaches,” Buss told Yahoo Sports.

LeBron James and owner Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers embrace after losing the 2020 NBA Championship Finals against the Miami Heat in Game Six of the NBA - on October 11, 2020 in Lake Buena at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex Finales 2020 Vista, Florida.

LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss embrace after winning the 2020 NBA Championship. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)