A war appears to be brewing within the Los Angeles Lakers’ organization, and all sides seem to be gearing up for a very public battle.
Late last week, word emerged of LeBron James, Rich Paul and the larger Klutch team being unhappy with Rob Pelinka over his inaction ahead of this year’s NBA Trade Deadline.
Specifically, it was alleged that they wanted to see Pelinka part with Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick for John Wall of the Houston Rockets.
This week, Stephen A. Smith appeared on First Take and personally relayed a message that was given to him by Paul.
“Rich Paul called me yesterday and asked me to quote him on this story about him, and Klutch Sports, and essentially them wanting the Lakers to trade Russell Westbrook and a first-round pick to Houston for John Wall,” he said.
“He wanted me to state emphatically that there was absolutely, positively no truth to that whatsoever. He never did that. He did not do that. The people who wrote the story never contacted him to get any kind of perspective from him on that.
“It is an absolute lie, and he said ‘could you please do me a favor and quote me and tell the world that I specifically said that’s a damn lie. There is no truth. It never happened.’ Just for what it’s worth, that’s what Rich Paul says about these stories that have been put out there. Fair enough. So I quoted him.”
Make of that what you will.
Lakers ownership, for what it’s worth, has made its position on Pelinka very clear. It’s difficult to see it changing any time soon.
Luka stays winning. https://t.co/7BFCdacMkn
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 23, 2022
The battle lines here have been drawn. Who will ultimately prevail in this power struggle when it’s all said and done?
Time will tell.