Lakers owner Jeanie Buss praises Rob Pelinka’s roster moves

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When the Los Angeles Lakers struggled mightily all through the 2021-22 season and the first part of this past season, general manager Rob Pelinka was on the hot seat.

Many criticized him for what they saw as the dismantling of a team that won the NBA championship in 2020. Instead of keeping the core of that squad together, he traded some of it away for Russell Westbrook in 2021. Management then compounded the image of ineptitude by not re-signing cult hero Alex Caruso and filling out the roster with players that were past their expiration date.

But Pelinka radically repaired the Lakers’ roster several months ago, and suddenly they were a legitimate championship contender. Even better, he managed to retain key free agents Rui Hachimura, Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell this summer instead of once again chasing stars or big names.

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Owner Jeanie Buss complimented her general manager during an exclusive interview with Mark Medina.

Via Sportskeeda:

“It was a wonderful run at the end of the season after the trade deadline. You can dial it back to the Hachimura trade with bringing in a player that fit in nicely with the team that we had. Then Rob furthered at the trade deadline by making moves that really fit the way that Coach [Darvin] Ham wanted to play. I really like how Rob talked about pre agency and that we got a chance to look at someone like Rui and how he fit in on our team so that we had the first option at bringing him back. Instead of waiting for free agency to make moves, he did it by making trades during the season. I thought the way he handled it was really strategic. He and Darvin were on the same page as to what they wanted to accomplish in terms of roster building.”

Nowadays, the sentiment about Pelinka is that he has earned his stripes and that he has done an excellent job once again, just as he did in the summer of 2019 when he put together the team that won it all.

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Buss played it coy about the Lakers’ chances of winning it all in 2024

The Lakers aren’t necessarily the favorites to win the world title this coming season. However, many, including team legend Magic Johnson and “NBA on TNT” personality Charles Barkley feel they’re fully capable of doing so.

Medina asked Buss for her outlook on the Lakers’ chances of claiming another Larry O’Brien Trophy, and she didn’t give a direct answer.

“I’m not going to predict that. That always limits a team. When people say, ‘The Lakers only play for championships,’ well, you have to be in the playoffs first to get to the championship. You have to put one foot in front of the other. Making it into the playoffs last season, to me, was getting over that hurdle.”

But one thing is for sure: The way the Lakers turned things around this past season was nothing short of a miracle.

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Story originally appeared on LeBron Wire

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