The Los Angeles Lakers are an absolute mess. LeBron James helms a team which Magic Johnson didn’t want to be a part of despite his long history with the organization. There have been rumors of infighting between Johnson and Rob Pelinka, and heading into a crucial free agent summer, it’s not clear if players are looking at the Lakers seriously.
LeBron has already started to do some recruiting, apparently with Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard on his call list. For the front office staff left over after Johnson’s departure, there is still some belief that the glitter and glitz of the Lakers hold appeal for young free agents.
Speaking to reporters this week, Pelinka said that he thinks Los Angeles is still a top destination for players and that the Lakers are contenders to sign big names.
Via Silver Screen and Roll and Spectrum Sportsnet:
“I think the most important thing is that players look to who we really are and not what the impression is of what others are trying to create us to be. I think all of us know when we come to work every day that there is stability and strength and togetherness here.
“I think for any of us, we know who we are and ourselves, we know the characteristics and qualities we stand for. And we know as a staff and feel very strongly that if people judge and evaluate us for who we are as an organization and the vision and path we have going forward, we feel there’ll be a very, very strong appeal for the great players to come here.”
There are so many people and reporters surrounding the Lakers, with so much of the information pointing in one direction, it’s hard to understand how folks inside the organization could be so delusional about what’s happened. Then again, Los Angeles is not exactly the capital for publicly owning up to mistakes, and expecting Pelinka to say anything derogatory toward his own team (or his involvement in what’s gone on) would be a stretch.
Until this team shows it can make the types of decisions that multibillion dollar enterprises make — because that’s exactly what the Lakers are — it’s going to be hard to believe they can return to prominence. Pelinka might have the belief that free agents want to come to L.A., but I’ll believe it when I see it.