Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka found himself under a lot of pressure this year, trying to amend the mistakes from the 2021 offseason.
Pelinka’s front office has made several questionable decisions since the 2020 NBA championship. The Lakers disassembled the title-winning roster in just two years, sending some of its key pieces to Washington to bring in Russell Westbrook.
Westbrook has struggled to fit in since his arrival with L.A. now appearing to be stuck with the 2017 NBA MVP for another year after failing to offload his monstrous $47.1 million contract in the summer.
However, the franchise’s leadership appears to believe Pelinka can make the Lakers a championship-caliber team again, reportedly extending his contract — and the reasoning behind the general manager’s extension suggests L.A. expects success to come soon. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reports that Pelinka’s new contract purposefully runs through 2026 to put him on the same timeline as head coach Darvin Ham and it was signed before they even hired their new coach:
The Los Angeles Lakers and Rob Pelinka, the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager, agreed to a contract extension before hiring new head coach Darvin Ham in early June, a league source told The Athletic. The extension, which was first reported by Yahoo! Sports on Saturday, will run through 2026.
After former Lakers coach Frank Vogel was fired in mid-April, the source said a decision was made to extend Pelinka in order to align his contract with the expected contractual timeline of the incoming coach. The move was made before the coaching search even began.
The extension shows Pelinka’s future with the Lakers is now tied down directly to the success of Ham’s era. And the pressure for L.A. to return to the title race will come down from both the general manager’s bosses and Purple and Gold All-Star LeBron James.
James reportedly voiced his concerns about the Lakers’ competitiveness before signing his contract extension in August. And Pelinka is understood to have promised the four-time NBA champion he would provide him with the tools the 37-year-old forward needs to compete for another chip for as long as he remains with the franchise.
Lakers’ ownership reportedly believes Pelinka and Ham are ‘in alignment on one vision’
Pelinka and former head coach Frank Vogel evidently weren’t on the same page when they planned for 2021-22, contributing to the season’s nightmares. The Lakers ended up with an offense-heavy team full of veterans, a roster that didn’t play to Vogel’s strengths with the coach known for his defense-first mindset.
However, L.A.’s leadership reportedly believes Pelinka and Ham are “in alignment on one vision” for the Purple and Gold, making for another reason to put them on the same contractual timeline.
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