Rob Pelinka Has Already Sealed His Fate With the Lakers

After a busy summer retooling the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves amid a disastrous season that they didn’t envision. The acquisition of Russell Westbrook has self-destructed in general manager Rob Pelinka’s face while clouding the franchise’s future beyond the 2021-22 campaign.

LeBron James has only added to the dilemma by leaving the door open to another return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Another concerning matter has emerged that could cost Pelinka his job.

Lakers sat silently at the trade deadline

In the weeks ahead of the trade deadline, it became quite evident that the Lakers wanted to shake up the roster.

However, the franchise struggled to gather any significant interest in Russell Westbrook outside the Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, the team couldn’t find any feasible deals to acquire draft assets in exchange for DeAndre Jordan or Kent Bazemore.

Talen Horton-Tucker’s inconsistent play also significantly decreased his league-wide value. Reports suggested that his three-year, $30.8 million deal held the perception of being a bad contract. Rob Pelinka worked around, but no realistic roster upgrades became viable before the trade deadline.

“I’ve been very collaborative with LeBron and Anthony [Davis] our captains in terms of shaping our roster and moves that make sense. And that continued with this trade deadline,” Pelinka said via Dan Woike of The LA Times. “And you can’t force another team to present yourself with a deal that is going to make your team be better. That’s up to them.

“And throughout this process, we had different things we looked at and like I’ve done in the past had conversations with LeBron and Anthony about it and I would say there’s alignment here. And that’s all that matters.”

What has made matters more troubling is that Pelinka’s comments about consulting with James and Davis are reportedly false. Now another concerning wrinkle has emerged that could put his job into jeopardy.

Rob Pelinka has already sealed his fate with the Lakers

The Lakers’ lack of movement before the trade deadline hasn’t exactly sat well within the organization.

The sentiment goes beyond Rob Pelinka publicly lying that he had constant communication with LeBron James and Anthony Davis throughout the process. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the front office’s decision to not trade Russell Westbrook for John Wall didn’t rub Klutch Sports the right way.

“According to multiple NBA sources, Klutch is not happy with Pelinka,” Pincus wrote. “The sentiment has long percolated, but it reached a boil when Pelinka refused to trade [Russell] Westbrook and a future first-round pick (likely 2027) for Houston Rockets guard and Klutch client John Wall.”

The Lakers had the opportunity to move Westbrook but didn’t want to include their 2027 first-round selection. Meanwhile, they reportedly held no interest in taking on Christian Wood’s contract as it would have put them into the luxury tax.

The Lakers didn’t view acquiring John Wall as a significant upgrade over Westbrook. The former All-Star hasn’t played a game this season and would require time to prepare his body to take the floor. Klutch Sports’ disgruntlement lies with their client not getting a clean slate, while Los Angeles would have simultaneously moved off the Westbrook mistake.

Instead, the team will stick it through to the rest of the season, hoping that the former league MVP can be the game-changing factor. What makes matters more intriguing is that James holds massive internal influence, and Pelinka’s questionable decision-making could potentially sway the franchise to move off him.

The Lakers want to keep the star forward satisfied, and if a front office change helps that then expect that.

LeBron James holds the Lakers’ future in his hands

The Lakers are getting a much-needed extended break, but the drama around the franchise remains prevalent.

LeBron James stirred the pot by suggesting that the door isn’t closed on returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers again. Meanwhile, he voiced that he wants to play his final season alongside his son Bronny James if that becomes possible.

The 18-time All-Star may be in the back end of his career, but he’s still playing at an elite level. The Lakers want to extend their window with him, making the upcoming offseason crucial regarding reshaping the roster.

The franchise is bending to James’ will, and he’s been keenly aware of that since his arrival. His career path beyond the summer of 2023 will significantly impact how the Lakers’ future unfolds.

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