This is the summer of bets for the Los Angeles Lakers. They pushed their chips to the center of the table to maximize the twilight of LeBron James' career. The timing makes enough sense within that context; the Golden State Warriors being weakened with the departure of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson's ACL injury means the NBA is as wide-open as it's been in years.
The Lakers made their initial gamble by flipping Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and collection of future picks that would make Danny Ainge sweat to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. Their pursuit of a third star failed, with Kawhi Leonard choosing the other team in Los Angeles. However, the Lakers rebounded with depth signings, headlined by DeMarcus Cousins and Danny Green.
They're banking on the LeBron-Davis pairing to run roughshod over the two-star NBA. A bounce-back campaign from the suddenly skinny Cousins could take the Lakers to another level.
What's flying a bit under the radar is how much pressure will be on Kyle Kuzma this season.
Kuzma is the lone youngster left from the Lakers' core four, and that was intentional. There were financial reasons at play; Kuzma's salary ($2.0 million this season) was low enough to allow the Lakers to pursue a max-level free agent. Beyond that, Kuzma has already established himself as a walking mismatch offensively.