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Rob Pelinka may not have been entirely truthful about consulting LeBron James over potential trades to improve the Los Angeles Lakers roster at the NBA trade deadline.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reports that while Pelinka said it was okay with James and Anthony Davis to not compromise the team’s future by giving away precious draft capital in a deadline deal, that may not be the case. McMenamin’s sources say that James’ approval to stand pat were false. The Lakers have lost six of eight games and are the ninth-placed team in the Western Conference.
Why would Pelinka fib about consulting James ahead of the team’s NBA trade deadline strategies?
Los Angeles Lakers: Rob Pelinka may not have consulted LeBron James after all
While it would serve Pelinka to not compromise the Lakers’ draft integrity by giving up first-round picks to teams like the Houston Rockets, players like James and Davis are 100 percent in win-now mode. James is not getting any younger and Davis could exit his prime sooner rather than later as well. All this says is the current Lakers roster is a poorly constructed one and it is not winning it all.
James and the Lakers may have survived the play-in tournament a year ago, but he lost the first first-round playoff series of his illustrious career. Did the division rival Phoenix Suns go on to win the Western Conference last year? Yes, but the Lakers have not been a championship-caliber team since winning it all in the Orlando Bubble two summers ago. They are walking diminishing returns.
Ultimately, it is understood that the Lakers are not winning the Western Conference this year. The road to the NBA Finals is too tough for them to hoe at this time. James helped Pelinka assemble a team of past-their-prime, injury-prone players who cannot shoot. This is what all parties involved signed up for. By saying Pelinka’s comments were false, it only makes things more awkward in L.A.
It also says that Davis and James would rather have guys playing on other teams than the ones they have to go into battle with now on a nightly basis.