Rob Pelinka has to be feeling the pressure of the offseason as he has several crucial decisions he needs to make to turn the Los Angeles Lakers roster into one worthy of contending for a championship.
Pelinka is fortunate to have two cornerstones on the roster in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but surrounding them with more two-way players and shooting is going to be the key to success. Getting those players is a lot easier said and done, though he and the Lakers could find gems again as they workout prospects leading up to the 2022 NBA Draft.
The annual NBA Draft Combine gives executives a chance to see prospects up close and Pelinka has been in attendance doing his own scouting work. However, it appears he has done more than just evaluate players as he reportedly met with Brooklyn Nets general Sean Marks, via basketball insider Adam Zagoria:
Nets GM Sean Marks and Lakers exec Rob Pelinka had a meeting at the Marriot Marquis this week at the NBA Combine.
Unclear what they discussed. Potential trade? Dinner plans? Comparing superstar headaches?
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) May 21, 2022
The Nets, like the Lakers, had a tumultuous 2021-22 campaign where they dealt with extended absences from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving as well as traded James Harden for Ben Simmons, who was unable to make his season debut. The two sides meeting might raise some eyebrows about a potential deal down the line, but the more plausible idea is that Pelinka was gathering info on Kenny Atkinson, who is in the running for the team’s head coaching job.
Atkinson served as the Brooklyn head coach between 2016 through 2019 before resigning in March of 2020. Since then, Atkinson has served as an assistant with the L.A. Clippers and is currently with the Golden State Warriors. The former head coach is well-known for player development and willingness to try out-of-the-box strategies to win, the latter being something that should interest the Lakers.
Both L.A. and Brooklyn have plenty of work to do to turn their respective franchises around, so it will be interesting to see how each maneuver the draft and free agency in the coming months.
Darvin Ham has made strongest impression on Lakers
While Atkinson was able to make the final cut for the Lakers’ head coaching position, it seems that Darvin Ham is the current frontrunner. Ham reportedly made the strongest impression on the team’s brass during the interview process but things can still change once each candidate meets with the organization in person.
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