Rob Pelinka is at present within the strategy of undoing the errors he’s at the very least partially accountable for making, triggering the Lakers’ worst season in franchise historical past. So far, the final supervisor’s newest transactions appear to show that he is studying from final offseason’s blunders. He’s signed younger, athletic free brokers and promising rookies, all whereas developing a roster that abides by new head coach Darvin Ham’s defense-first philosophy and 4-out 1-in system.
But whereas Pelinka may need began shuffling in the precise route this offseason, he nonetheless has a methods to go from correcting each single mistake he is made. In truth, he is but to make his most important selections of this offseason as Russell Westbrook’s standing on the Lakers and LeBron James’ contract extension stay unsure.
Ironically, Pelinka should now ace the very activity he is underperformed at over the previous two offseasons — asset administration.
In retrospect, there’s most likely a universe the place the Lakers may’ve averted being within the mess that they at present discover themselves in if solely Pelinka hadn’t traded away draft picks like he was handing out flyers within the mall.
Because give it some thought: What if Pelinka solely traded one and even two first-round picks as a substitute of three to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis? Los Angeles definitely had the leverage at the moment. How about when Pelinka and firm determined to let Dennis Schroder (who they traded the twenty eighth general choose within the 2020 Draft for) simply stroll in change for nothing within the 2021 offseason? Or when the Lakers thought Alex Caruso (who began within the clinching contest of the 2020 NBA Finals) and Marc Gasol (who they traded a second-round choose for) weren’t vital sufficient to put money into long-term? And lastly, how about when the Lakers determined to commerce their 2021 first-round choose as well as to three high-end rotation gamers for a depreciating Westbrook final offseason?
Had he averted any of these quite a few adverse asset swaps, Pelinka may simply be within the drivers’ seat in commerce talks with the Nets’ Sean Marks or the Pacers’ Sean Buchanan. Going a step additional, the Lakers’ current and future would not be in jeopardy if they only knew how to correctly worth their very own belongings. Now, they’re caught in the course of commerce negotiations whereas remaining hesitant to surrender what’s left of their draft capital as James looms within the background, pressuring the Lakers to regain his belief.
And with reportedly two potential commerce packages to work with — in return for a few first-rounders and the precise to pay out the ultimate season of the worst contract within the league — the workforce has no selection however to chew the bullet and make a deal So, the query for Pelinka is, how does he clear up one drawback with out creating one other?
That is why it is now or by no means for Pelinka to save his job by reopening the Lakers’ title window that he performed an enormous half in closing within the first place. To do this, he needs to resolve the Lakers’ worst commerce transaction in franchise historical past and safe James’ dedication whereas he is at it. The subsequent few weeks will decide if the final supervisor has realized a factor or two from his previous, or if he is prepared to repeat the identical errors he is already made, dooming the Lakers, and his future with them.
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