There was plenty of blame to go around for the Los Angeles Lakers’ failures this season. Frank Vogel, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and even Jeanie Buss have all come under scrutiny, but arguably no one has been under the fire more than Lakers general manager and vice president of basketball operations, Rob Pelinka.
While Buss has the final say, she has always empowered her front office and taken them at their word and it is Pelinka who is in charge of roster decisions. At the core of the Lakers’ issues this season was a roster that simply was not good enough.
Not re-signing Alex Caruso and the Russell Westbrook trade which saw the Lakers deal away other perimeter defenders in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma are at the forefront of decisions that doomed the Lakers this season. But despite a rough last two seasons, Buss insists she has confidence in Pelinka, via Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:
“In terms of basketball decisions, I have complete confidence in our front office, which is headed by Rob Pelinka,” she said. “He is a person that is extremely smart, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and with purpose. … I have complete confidence that he can put together a roster and find a coach that is going to get us back to where we belong.”
As Buss noted, Pelinka will first need to find the right coach to lead this Lakers team and then put together the right roster to get the Lakers back amongst the NBA’s elite. Pelinka has proven he is able to do just that as he did so in 2020, but now the pressure is on after back-to-back disappointing years.
And while Buss does have confidence in Pelinka’s ability, she also made it clear that she will make the necessary tough decisions should the Lakers fail to live up to their standard once again:
“Absolutely, if we are not living up to the Lakers standard, absolutely I will look at everything,” she said, later adding, “I will make the hard decisions, because that’s what you have to do.”
Buss has proven in the past that she is indeed capable of cutting loose anyone who she feels is not up to par in keeping the Lakers where they need to be and now Pelinka is certainly on the hot seat. Pelinka has some serious decisions to make and will have the full support of Buss, but if he fails to get it right, it could very well be his final decisions made with the franchise.
Jeanie Buss insists she, not LeBron James and Klutch Sports, runs Lakers
While Buss believes in Pelinka’s ability to build the right roster for the Lakers, there are those who believe it’s not even Pelinka who is really making the decisions, but rather LeBron James and Klutch Sports pulling the strings.
But Buss pushed back on that, insisting that she has final say on all decisions. Though she did allow that the front office bounces ideas off LeBron and that she wants him to be happy with the team, she takes on full accountability for all Lakers decisions.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!