Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Put on Notice After Loss to Clippers

Rob Pelinka

Vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to 0-2 with a loss to the Clippers on Thursday and the deficiencies of the roster around superstar LeBron James became even more apparent.

As a team, the Lakers shot just 35% from the field and 20% from 3-point range in the loss, which prompted Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to rip the team’s front office for how the roster was constructed.

“Last year and this year, what they are putting around LeBron is an embarrassment,” Barkley said on TNT following the game. “Last year they put all those geezers around him, and what they got out there around him right now — somebody is not doing their job in LA, period.”

That somebody Barkley is referencing is most likely vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka, who has been overseeing the Lakers since 2017. Pelinka has done some good, bringing both Anthony Davis and James to LA. However, he’s been unable to make impactful moves since the team won the title in 2020, which has led to the Lakers’ currently conundrum.

Lakers Signed Pelinka to Extension Recently

The Lakers announced an extension for Pelinka earlier this month, with the deal linking him to the franchise through the 2025-26 season. It also came just months after the Lakers finished last season 33-49, missing the postseason. Pelinka did not shy away from taking blame for the rough year.

“This was a disappointing Lakers season at every level and I think in the face of disappointment our fans expect more and that’s at every facet. It starts with the front office led by me and our ability to construct the right roster,” Pelinka said in April. “When you have disappointment, you need to take ownership of that and you need to vow to make the adjustments to be better and that’s where the work starts today.”

The most glaring issue for the Lakers currently is the status of Russell Westbrook. Pelinka and the decision makers in Los Angeles have been unable to move the former MVP for a package they deem worthy, especially considering most trade partners will be asking for one or both of the Lakers available first-round picks.

The Lakers are expected to wait around 20 games to make any kind of move, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. This will allow the Lakers to feel out the roster with Westbrook involved and they’ll also be able to see the direction of other teams around the league, hoping an impactful deal arises.

LeBron James Was Blunt About Lakers’ Lack of Shooting

James has done well in his career when he’s surrounded by players who can shoot the ball and take advantage of the extra space he creates. The Lakers have shot just 22.4% from deep through two games, with the offense sputtering for extended periods of time during games.

James was pretty blunt in his assessment of the Lakers personnel following the opening night loss to the Warriors.

“I mean, I don’t know. I think we’re getting great looks and I think there also could be some teams giving us great looks,” James told reporters. “To be completely honest, we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting. And that’s just what the truth of the matter is. It’s not like we’re sitting here with a bunch of lasers on our team. But that doesn’t deter us from still trying to get great shots. When you get those opportunities, you take them. But we’re not sitting here with a bunch of 40-plus [percent] career 3-point shooting guys.”

James and the Lakers will try to turn things around on Sunday when they face the Trail Blazers.

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