The Lakers held their introductory press conference for new GM Rob Pelinka on Friday, who (alongside president of basketball operations Magic Johnson) laid out his vision for rebuilding the franchise.
While details were scarce (as they typically are in these situations), the two were for the most part impressive in speaking about the team's future.
Here are 7 takeaways from the beginning of a new era for the Lakers.
There will be no publicly stated timeline for a return to championship contention
Before Jim Buss was ousted by his sister Jeanie in his role as the man in charge of basketball operations, he famously gave a three-year timeline for the Lakers to return to title contention, or else he'd "step down." He didn't end up having that opportunity because with the Lakers assured of missing the playoffs yet again, there was no reason for Jeanie to wait for the conclusion of the season to make the change.
Pelinka's response was "I'm hesitant to paint timelines" when asked to do the same, and after explaining that building a contender is like a chess game, he said that whether the team can return to glory in one year or in five is "impossible to predict."
Pelinka recalled Kobe Bryant's trade demand in 2007 as a positive experience in rebuilding the Lakers
In the summer of 2007, the Lakers were coming off of consecutive seasons in which they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. That's obviously not acceptable when Phil Jackson is the head coach and Kobe Bryant is in the prime of his career, and Pelinka pointed to the way the team handled things back then as an inspiration for how he might work with the leaders in the organization in the future.
Bryant went on national radio demanding a trade if the team couldn't figure things out in a hurry, and the result was a meeting with Bryant, Pelinka and others at the home of then-owner Dr. Jerry Buss to get everyone collaborating on how to turn things around.
The result? The Lakers made a midseason trade for Pau Gasol the very next year and appeared in the Finals for three straight seasons -- winning the last two titles of Kobe's career in 2009 and 2010.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportTom Szczerbowski
The team will look to capitalize on having Luke Walton as head coach
Pelinka spoke very highly of Walton and expects to use the fact that he seems to be universally liked to help lure free agents to Los Angeles.
"Uniformly, I don't know how this is possible, but everyone loves you," Pelinka said to Walton, who was in attendance.
Getty ImagesHarry How
Pelinka explained how his experience as an agent will help bring players to the Lakers
Pelinka was a longtime player agent (with Bryant as his most high-profile client) before agreeing to become the Lakers' GM. He explained how that experience would help when it's time to recruit free agents to play in Los Angeles.
"20 years really give you an insight of what's important to players and agents," he said.
Getty ImagesGetty Images
Pelinka likes the Lakers' young talent, but only to a point
Pelinka was asked about the Lakers' young core, which includes guys like D'Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, among others. He said he liked what he saw, but only to a certain extent -- citing the fact that the team is 29th out of 30 in the league-wide standings, which is something he deemed "unacceptable."
Pelinka said the Lakers need to add better talent, and that he'll look to be aggressive in doing so through free agency.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are headed to New York for meetings with the league next week
The NBA has a new collective bargaining agreement that will go into effect July 1, and with Pelinka and Magic both in new roles, they want to make sure they understand the intricacies before free agency takes place. Magic said the two are off to New York next week for meetings at the league office (and with commissioner Adam Silver) specifically to try to get educated on this new information.
Championships remain the goal
As things wrapped up, Pelinka wasn't sure whether the young core of the team can evolve into one that can compete for titles.
"But I do know this," he said. "We have a championship coach and Earvin and I will put in a championship accountability system to make sure any player that has the honor to put that jersey on is striving for greatness, is working hard and is a person of integrity. All of those players are inspired by what he did and what Kobe did and what Captain [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar] did, and the other Lakers greats.
"We have a championship heritage, we have championship ownership and we have a championship coach, a championship president. We have all the pieces in place."