The Los Angeles Lakers’ disastrous season up to this point hit a new low recently when the front office failed to improve the roster ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline.
Although team general manager Rob Pelinka came out in the immediate aftermath and said he had full buy-in from LeBron James on staying pat and not making any rash decisions, it would soon emerge that was not in fact the case.
And James’ camp made sure everyone knew it.
Over the weekend, a report emerged that James and Klutch Sports were very unhappy with how Pelinka handled things.
“According to multiple NBA sources, Klutch is not happy with Pelinka,” wrote Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. “The sentiment has long percolated, but it reached a boil when Pelinka refused to trade Westbrook and a future first-round pick (likely 2027) for Houston Rockets guard and Klutch client John Wall.”
This week, NBA insider Marc Stein provided a window into how Lakers ownership currently feels about Pelinka.
“Pelinka has the unwavering support of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and is firmly entrenched as a pillar of the club’s four-pronged brain trust alongside Buss and the power couple of Kurt and Linda Rambis,” he wrote.
“The Lakers will be able to trade multiple future first-round picks in the summer, after they were limited to featuring a 2027 first-rounder in their recent trade offers. The problem: They still lack players other teams covet to package with those picks. James can seethe about the Lakers’ fruitless deadline all he wants, but it doesn’t make Pelinka’s hand any stronger.
“This is an organization that has cut ties completely with Lakers icon Jerry West, who has a legit claim to Greatest Laker Ever status when you combine his playing achievements with his front-office work. James and agent Rich Paul, for all the perceived control they wield, are still outsiders when it comes to the Lakers’ power dynamics. If West can be cut off, rest assured LeBron can, too, if he can no longer lift the Lakers out of mediocrity.”
A very real power struggle seems to be playing out between James, Klutch and Pelinka – and it feels like the latter is winning it at the moment.
Paige Spiranac’s surprising Phil Mickelson confession. https://t.co/7Za76SvTLC
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 23, 2022
Nobody comes out of this messy ordeal looking good. Much as was the case with this week’s surprising revelation regarding why LA rejected DeMar DeRozan last summer, James and Pelinka both seem to be to blame for the Lakers’ current ills.
Based on how things have gone up to this point, it’s hard to see the Lakers’ season improving at all from this point forward.
A longtime sports reporter, Carlos Garcia has written about some of the biggest and most notable athletic events of the last 5 years. He has been credentialed to cover MLS, NBA and MLB games all over the United States. His work has been published on Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, AOL and the Washington Post.