The Los Angeles Lakers are 27-31 and currently ninth in the western conference standings, and if the play-in tournament started today, they would have to play their way into a playoff spot. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, the trade deadline has come and passed without them electing to trade Russell Westbrook and their 2027 first-round pick to Houston for John Wall.
They still can pick up a couple of free agents in the buyout market, but that’s highly unlikely, so they will have to roll with their current roster. So, the only way they will get better is by having all of their players come back health off the injured list. They will need to go on a run in the next 20 plus games to end the season.
And to make matters worse, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, tensions are high between LeBron James’ agency, Klutch Sports, and Laker general manager, Rob Pelinka.
According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, LeBron James wanted the Lakers to make a move at the deadline, but it was relatively quiet. However, according to the vice-president of basketball operations and general manager, Rob Pelinka told reporters he had consulted him, and they were aligned.
However, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, “A source familiar with the situation told ESPN that there was no prior sign-off from James and Davis accepting a quiet deadline. “In fact, in the days leading up to the deadline, sources told ESPN there was a realization within the Lakers locker room that the roster was not working and changes would be necessary to turn the team into a contender.”
Despite the reports by Windhorst and Pincus, Rich Paul is not angry with Pelinka or the Lakers. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Paul has no issues with the Lakers or Pelinka.
“I spoke to Rich Paul today & he told me there are no issues between LeBron James & the Lakers or Rob Pelinka, Charania on PatMcAfeeShow.
On Thursday afternoon, Kendrick Perkins chatted with Bally Sports’ Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson on Bovada’s Instagram Live. Robinson asked Perkins if the problem was Rob Pelinka or Frank Vogel during their conversation.
“It’s neither one of them. People are trying to act like Russ [ell Westbrook] is struggling that the Lakers made a bad choice by picking Russ up. Let me remind folks that Russ is a top 75 greatest player of all time. So, when they traded for him, did they think he would be this bad? You have to do that if it was on the table. If they had to go back and retract it, they still would make a move to this day. We are talking about a guy who is walking a triple-double,” said Perkins.
“We didn’t know he was going to be this bad. We thought that Russ coming home where he was born and raised would come and get the Lakers over the hump and take some pressure off LeBron & AD, but it wasn’t that way. So, I can’t blame Frank Vogel, a guy who has shown us that he can win a championship with LeBron, and AD or Rob Pelinka because it was not just them, though.”
Robinson asked if the reports involving Rich Paul were accurate as they pertained to the dysfunction between LeBron and the Lakers.
“I don’t think that is true, and every single time something happens, they are quick to point the finger at Rich Paul. And to be honest with you, Rich Paul has been staying far away from the Lakers. That’s the truth, and he wants no part of what’s going on. Rich didn’t chime in when they acquired Russell Westbrook. He let them do them. It’s crazy because people are always ready to point the finger at him when [Rich] is doing his thing. He is chilling with his boo. He’s not worried about the Lakers.
The Los Angeles Lakers play the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday evening at Crypto.com Arena at 10 pm EST.