The Los Angeles Lakers remain one of the most storied franchises in NBA history.
Over the years, the Lakers sported some of the game’s greatest talents on their rosters.
So when Los Angeles added LeBron James to the mix in 2018, it provided yet another all-time great.
But signing James in free agency wasn’t the only thing they had to do to recapture championship glory.
In James’ first season, the Lakers faltered to a 37-45 record and James missed the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
But since then, Los Angeles has made a concerted effort to construct a championship roster around James.
The team won its 17th NBA title in 2020, tied for the most in league history, and now they’re poised for another championship run.
Here’s a look at the three best roster decisions the team has made since adding James in 2018.
3. Signing Rajon Rondo
The Lakers and James agreed to his free agency deal on July 1, 2018.
Shortly thereafter, the Lakers added point guard Rajon Rondo to the roster as well.
Rondo brought a veteran presence to a team littered with young talent, but he didn’t really pay dividends until his second season.
Rondo provided the Lakers with meaningful minutes as a reserve during their run to the championship in 2020.
He finished fifth on the team in scoring during those playoffs, second in assists, and led the Lakers in steals.
Rondo’s perimeter defense helped the team capture its 17th championship.
That win made him just the second player in NBA history to win titles with both Boston and the Lakers.
2. Trading For Russell Westbrook
Following their 2020 title, the Lakers struggled through the next season.
The team landed in the Play-In Tournament and was ultimately bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns.
That loss saddled James with his first ever first-round exit from the postseason.
So this offseason, the Lakers have reshaped the roster around James once again.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 10, 2021
As part of a massive and complicated five-team trade, the Lakers landed Los Angeles-native Russell Westbrook to play alongside James.
This trade signals the start of another championship run.
Westbrook arrives as a three-time assist leader and two-time scoring champion.
The 32-year-old triple-double maven should alleviate the pressure off James to create most of the team’s offense.
Westbrook hopes to add his first championship ring this season, with what would be the Lakers’ 18th and James’ fifth.
1. Acquiring Anthony Davis
The best move the Lakers have made since adding James to the roster is trading for perennial All-Star Anthony Davis.
Long rumored before the trade was consummated, Davis came to Los Angeles at a hefty price.
Breaking: The Pelicans have agreed to a deal to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks – including the No. 4 overall in 2019 Draft, league sources tell @wojespn. pic.twitter.com/a2L4wSQOOx
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 15, 2019
With Davis in tow, James and the Lakers made that 2020 championship run.
Adding Davis provided James with another elite level talent, something he’s always needed when vying for titles.
In Los Angeles, Davis proved to be the missing piece.
Davis led the Lakers in scoring and blocks during that Finals run and he should benefit greatly playing alongside James and Westbrook next season.