After the debacle that was the 2021-22 season for the Los Angeles Lakers, there was a ton of pressure on Rob Pelinka and the front office to fix the roster and help turn things around. As such, the Lakers have been involved in a ton of trade rumors throughout the entire offseason.
Ultimately they did not make the huge trade that many expected, particularly one involving Russell Westbrook, and the main reason for that seems to be a hesitation in including multiple first-round draft picks. The team dealt away a number of them in the Anthony Davis trade, and trading away their 2027 and 2029 picks is something the front office is only willing to do in the right deal.
At Lakers media day, Pelinka was asked about their mindset in regards to those picks and made it clear that the front office intends to do everything to help LeBron James reach that championship level once again.
“Let me be abundantly clear: We have one of the great players in LeBron James to ever play the game on our team, and he committed to us on a long-term contract,” Pelinka said. “So of course we will do everything we can, picks included, to make deals that give us a chance to help LeBron get to the end. He committed to our organization, that’s gotta be a bilateral commitment.”
LeBron’s two-year contract extension keeps him with the Lakers through at least 2024 with a player option for the 2025 season. But even if he were to play through that, it is still years before those 2027 and 2029 picks would come up, and because of that, Pelinka stressed that any move involving those picks would have to be the absolute right one.
“But let me also be clear: teams can’t trade all their picks every year,” Pelinka added. “You can only trade every other year. You have one shot to make a trade with multiple picks, so if you make that trade it has to be the right one. So we’re being very thoughtful around the decisions on when and how to use draft capital in a way that can improve our roster.”
Giving away those picks in a trade that only brings incremental improvement simply won’t make sense and could absolutely crater the Lakers in the future. It is a very thin line in trying to win now and not completely destroying your future, and Rob Pelinka is trying to skate that right now.
One could argue that the Lakers have put themselves in this unfavorable position, and while that may be the case, Pelinka is trying not to make things even worse.
Rob Pelinka says Kendrick Nunn completely cleared ahead of Lakers training camp
Pelinka was asked about a lot of things during Lakers media day, and one of the things was the current health of the team. Kendrick Nunn has been a topic all summer long after missing the entire 2022 season, and Pelinka revealed that he has been fully cleared ahead of training camp.
Pelinka also noted that Troy Brown Jr. and Lonnie Walker IV are dealing with minor issues, while Dennis Schroder is currently not with the team while he deals with a visa issue.