After one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history in 2021-22, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to make wholesale changes to both their roster and coaching staff this summer.
Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka led the coaching search that landed on Darvin Ham as the replacement for Frank Vogel. And while the Lakers were not able to trade Russell Westbrook, they did get much younger and more athletic, hoping to return to the defensive identity that won them a championship in 2020.
Given all of these changes within the organization, many assumed that Pelinka’s seat would begin to heat up if the Lakers had another disappointing season in 2022-23.
It appears Pelinka’s position in the organization is as secure as ever though. In fact, he will be getting a contract extension that goes through 2026 according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:
Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka has agreed to a multiyear contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
The new contract structure goes through 2026, sources said.
The Lakers’ ownership group, led by Jeanie Buss, believes deeply in management and the coach being in alignment on one vision. Pelinka’s contract is now set to expire at the same time as first-year head coach Darvin Ham, who signed a four-year deal.
The timing of this decision is a bit of a surprise considering the Lakers have not yet begun the season and no one can forecast how it will go. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the extension was signed even before free agency started:
Lakers VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka signed an extension through the 2025-26 season, aligning his deal with new coach Darvin Ham’s, league sources confirmed to ESPN. The deal was reached around the time of Ham’s hiring. Yahoo had it first.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 8, 2022
Pelinka has been a part of the Lakers family for a while though as Kobe Bryant’s former agent and then guiding the organization to its 17th championship in 2020, so it seems that Jeanie and the rest of the Buss family have full faith in him to turn things around moving forward.
Pelinka explains thought process of dealing draft picks
Although Pelinka was not able to trade Westbrook this summer, talks are expected to continue into the season with the Indiana Pacers and perhaps other teams.
The Lakers only have two future first-round picks available to offer in 2027 and 2029, and Pelinka gave some insight into their thought process at Lakers Media Day.
“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.
“But let me also be clear: teams can’t trade all their picks every year. 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.”
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