LA Lakers GM Rob Pelinka reveals the reason behind acquiring Russell Westbrook. Pelinka also reflects on the injury woes the Lakers have had, with THT, Trevor Ariza, and Kendrick Nunn missing games.
Things haven’t seemed to have gone according to plan for the LA Lakers this season. The Lakers currently hold a 16-15 record, struggling to be a +500 team. Things have only worsened for the team, with Anthony Davis set to miss four weeks of action due to an MCL sprain.
Though LeBron James is playing phenomenally in his 19th year in the league, the Lakers are overly dependent on him. The purple and gold team are 5-7 without the King. The front office dominated the off-season acquiring the likes of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwight Howard, to name a few.
The team’s new signings received mixed responses since these stars were past their prime. However, nobody expected them to struggle the way they are currently. Though injuries and the league’s COVID protocols have been an issue, the big names on the roster have been unable to develop chemistry.
Recently, GM Pelinka opened up about acquiring Westbrook and why they can’t evaluate the team till their full roster is healthy.
Rob Pelinka gets candid on the Lakers season so far.
Pelinka began his career as an agent of the late Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant. The Lakers organization would hire the 51-year old as their GM in 2017. Pelinka was promoted as the vice-president after Magic Johnson decided to resign, accusing Pelinka of backstabbing him.
However, the former agent brought the Lakers a championship in the 2020 Orlando Bubble. Unfortunately, since then, the team has been struggling. The Lakers had a first-round exit in the 2021 playoffs against the Phoenix Suns. The current season hasn’t been very kind to them as well.
Pelinka recently reflected on the Lakers’ journey so far in the 2021-22 season.
Talking about Westbrook, Pelinka said the following.
“Obviously, we made a big trade for Russell Westbrook to get another playmaker. We knew as LeBron’s journey towards year 19th in the league, we couldn’t rely on him as the sole engine for our team, so we made that trade.”
Talking about the injury woes to Talen Horton-Tucker, Trevor Ariza, and Kendrick Nunn, Pelinka said.
“Those were all players we saw in our top eight and so getting them healthy and back, really, I think will be critical in us being able to analyze how the puzzle fits together once we have our whole team.”
On the latest Backstage Lakers, Rob Pelinka confirmed two things that have mostly only been hinted at:
1) the team made the Russ trade/added more ballhandlers because they wanted to save wear and tear on LeBron
2) they don’t think they can judge the team without Nunn and Ariza pic.twitter.com/hYuxdXfInR
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) December 20, 2021
Though Pelinka has a point, the Lakers have not been able to hold ground, despite having former scoring champions in Westbrook and Melo played all games so far.