Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has had a tumultuous month in terms of his public image, but the hiring of Frank Vogel has acted as perhaps a turning point.
Ever since former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson outed Pelinka for ‘backstabbing’ him on ESPN’s First Take, he has had to deal with repercussions of actions he’s already denied.
However, Pelinka wanted to take the focus off that and make sure that he was simply doing his best work for the Lakers.
“First and foremost, we do want today to be about Coach Vogel,” Pelinka said at the team’s recent press conference. “But I think, again, my job is to not worry about what other people may think or say about me as a person. My job is to do the work and what’s best for this franchise. That’s where my focus is.”
As the general manager, Pelinka has to keep negative stories away from the franchise, a job he believes winning will take care of.
“We all know in sports when you’re winning, great things are said. When a team loses, the naysayers and negativity comes out,” Pelinka said. “That’s just the nature of the business. Right now we’re coming off a season where we lost. Again, we’re not going to be caught up in the polls of public opinion or media polls. We’re going to keep our focus on doing good work and getting to a place where we win.”
Vogel then spoke on behalf of Pelinka’s character, basically shutting down all the negative rumors and speaking simply about his interactions with him. “What happened between those two is not for me to speak on. What I can speak on is I did not know Rob Pelinka before this process,” Vogel said.
“I have had an incredibly positive experience from the moment I came out here with Rob. Both in the interview process talking about our families, his vision of the team, his vision of what the head coach and coaching staff should look like. We’re aligned with all that stuff. I’ve been very impressed with him as a front office man, the vision that he has for what we’re going to build with the roster and I really look forward to working with him. It’s been all positive. It really has.”
Pelinka and Vogel have seemed to develop a strong and positive relationship right out of the gates, and that’s something that could become a beacon of hope for the Lakers.
If Pelinka, Vogel, and LeBron James can all be on the same page, the dysfunction could be over in a hurry.