Lakers GM Rob Pelinka on Hot Seat Entering Next Season?

The Lakers have had three coaches in five years and were the NBA’s biggest bust this season, finishing 33-49 and failing to make the playoffs.Rob Pelinka

As The Athletic’s Bill Oram pointed out in excellent piece, general manager Rob Pelinka may be feeling the pressure. Basically, if the Lakers go through another season of this — or something close to this — there could again be changes coming to the front office. 

As Oram noted, Pelinka has two years remaining on his contract. But in the NBA, that rarely makes a difference. If a team wants to let go of a GM or coach, it lets him go. Money be darned. So it feels as if Pelinka will get one more year, and that’s it.

Pelinka did accept some responsibility for the disappointing season. He finalized the trade for Russell Westbrook that was a massive failure, and brought in eight new players overall. Also, at the start of the season, the Lakers had the oldest roster in NBA history. It really showed at the defensive end.

“I’m the one who leads the basketball operations department, and will take ultimate accountability for the roster decisions that are made,” Pelinka told reporters.

One clear order of business this offseason is hiring a coach, as Frank Vogel was dismissed after one season. As is often the case, the coach took the fall for a clunky roster and multiple injuries to key players, including Anthony Davis (yes, again) and LeBron James.

Along with that, Pelinka and has staff will need to try to work out a Westbrook trade. And if not, the Lakers will still try to revamp the roster again — even without much wiggle room when it comes to salary cap.

So not only will Pelinka be charged with improving the roster, he’ll have to get incredibly creative to do it. Big stars are no longer clamoring to play with 37-year old James.

“I’m confident that, like we did in 2019 after a year of disappointment, we (will) put our heads together,” Pelinka said. “And I think we’ll spend the next several weeks and months doing an autopsy of what worked well and what didn’t work well this year and come out of that with a clear plan of how to get it right in July. (when free agency begins)”

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