Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has come under a lot of criticism of late. Some fans have been quick to blame the high-profile general manager for the Lakers’ early season struggles. In their minds, Pelinka’s refusal (or inability) to pull off a significant trade deal is the main reason behind LA’s problems.
However, at least one unnamed Western Congress executive believes Pelinka is looking at the bigger picture. In a recent episode of The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck, the two NBA insiders discussed Pelinka’s seemingly absurd stance against green-lighting a trade with the Lakers. It seems this could have a lot to do with Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal:
“So here was the quote from the Western Conference general manager that I talked to who had mentioned this,” Beck said. “He says, ‘Washington is the one that I keep thinking is going to happen.’ … [Bradley Beal] got a no-trade clause, he wants to come to California” — That was an interesting tidbit about this — “He can basically choose where he wants to go (because of his no-trade clause)” … So that’s the logic that the Western Conference CEO was telling me, and he said this: “Whatever you want to say about Pelinka, he’s smart, he takes his time.”
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If you look at it from this angle, it seems that Pelinka is playing the long game. Beal has long been linked as a trade target for the Lakers, and a three-time All-Star move has the potential to be a game changer for LA. The fact that he reportedly wants to come to California makes this possibility that much more interesting.
The big question now is whether the Lakers have enough assets to make this deal happen. Will two first round picks and Russell Westbrook be enough for Washington? If not, Pelinka may need to engage in more minor moves to execute his grand plan.