Ever since Magic Johnson resigned as the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations and threw general manager Rob Pelinka under the bus, the latter has taken his fair share of criticism from the media and fans.
The fact of the matter is that Pelinka has built a roster that can potentially get the Lakers back into championship contention this offseason after doing what Johnson could not do at the 2018-19 NBA trade deadline: trade for Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans.
Pelinka has also done a nice job of filling out the roster around Davis and LeBron James, adding a number of players that can shoot the basketball including Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, DeMarcus Cousins, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley, and Troy Daniels. He also brought back some players from last year’s roster in JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso.
While Pelinka knows he has been the subject of a lot of criticism this summer, his sole focus remains on restoring the Lakers to greatness, and he complimented all of his other colleagues for doing the same.
“I’ve had two full seasons, this will be my third full season, and I think the most important thing about leadership is the less time you can spend thinking about yourself and the more time you can spend thinking about the Lakers and team of people you work with, that’s really all that matters,” Pelinka said.
“Any minute of your day that you spend on anything other than building your team and putting work in to make sure the guys are getting the services and needs they have to be great players, is really fruitless time. I’m so grateful for the staff of people that Jeanie’s allowed us to assemble here in the basketball operations department. So much credit for the success of this roster goes to others, not to me. We just have an extraordinary team of people that are behind the scenes that do the work and don’t take the credit, and do the planning and develop the strategy. There’s constant collaboration, there’s constant roundtable efforts. If we find success this year, it’s going to be because of those people and the hard work that they do. I couldn’t feel more supported. I think that’s probably what I’ve learned more than anything about leadership, is the credit goes to those people and the work they do. Their names aren’t covered in the papers but they do everything and mean everything for me to be able to work with them.”
The Lakers were hoping to add another All-Star player in Kawhi Leonard, although he wound up signing with the Los Angeles Clippers instead. So considering Plan A didn’t work out, Pelinka deserves some credit for still putting a solid roster together when most of the top free agents were already off the board.
Pelinka has emphasized on multiple occasions that it is championship or bust for the Lakers during the 2019-20 season so if they fall short of that goal, then he will be opening himself up for more criticism.