The start of the 2019 offseason was a nightmare for the Los Angeles Lakers as the recently resigned Magic Johnson went to numerous media outlets and blasted general manager Rob Pelinka. Many viewed the Lakers as a laughingstock and a shell of the premier franchise they once were.
But thanks in large part to the work Pelinka continued to do in the midst of everything, the Lakers would turn everything around and win the 2020 NBA championship. That process began when Pelinka was able to complete a trade for superstar Anthony Davis.
He then quickly pivoted after the Lakers were spurned to build the perfect roster of role players to compliment Davis and LeBron James.
Pelinka and the Lakers front office are already back at work this offseason, trading for Dennis Schroder, then signing Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol. The Lakers also re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris.
The flurry of activity prompted Johnson to take to his Twitter page and praise Pelinka for the work he’s done while also calling for him to get more respect:
Rob Pelinka is doing a GREAT job and hopefully next season he will get his well earned respect.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) November 15, 2020
These words are likely a shot at the Executive of the Year voting in which Pelinka finished seventh in the voting.
Unlike the other NBA awards, it is voted on by executives, which many believe shows that the other general managers don’t care for Pelinka.
He came under fire throughout the assembling of the Lakers roster, with many questioning if he gave up too much in the Davis trade and some reports even popping up that he misunderstood the salary cap and might not be able to complete it.
Leonard choosing the Clippers over the Lakers and subsequent signings of the likes of Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard didn’t help matters in court of public opinion, but now it is Pelinka who is having the last laugh.
Johnson and Pelinka were not on the same page last year, but winning ultimately cures everything. Pelinka has always just kept his head down through the criticism and worked harder and that is what lead to the championship, and now he’s looking to add more to that.
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