The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly locked down Rob Pelinka to a new contract extension, one that will keep him as vice president of basketball operations for the franchise through 2026. Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes first reported the news in the middle of the afternoon on Saturday.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Rob Pelinka — vice president of basketball operations — agreed to terms on a contract extension through 2026, league sources tell @YahooSports. https://t.co/tqyWUtGTky
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) October 8, 2022
It would seem that despite the media and fans’ distaste with Pelinka’s job performance, Jeanie Buss remains a believer. Haynes confirmed this in the report about Pelinka’s extension, saying the following:
The Lakers’ ownership group, led by Jeanie Buss, believes deeply in management and the coach being in alignment on one vision.
The extension will now align Pelinka’s contract with head coach Darvin Ham’s, giving the Lakers stability with the top people in their basketball operations department. It’s a two year extension, with his original contract expiring after the 2023-24 season.
The timing of this news is curious. Under Rob Pelinka, nearly every decision surrounding basketball operations over the past two seasons has gone wrong. The most recent example of this was the failure in dealing Russell Westbrook during the 2022 offseason after the team traded nearly all of its assets to acquire him in the 2021 offseason.
The team’s results over the last couple of years led to a report from Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus at the end of the 2021-22 season that “buzz around the league” suggested that Pelinka had one more year to get the Lakers back on track. Maybe Buss decided that the Lakers are now “back on track”, something that I think most if not all people would raise an eyebrow to even if the Lakers have played well when their starters have been playing in these recent preseason games. At face value, it’s a good idea to align the contracts of your front office leader and your head coach. But is that really a good idea if the two have no results yet together with Pelinka’s overall performance before Ham’s arrival being filled with nearly more negatives than positives at this point despite the positives being the best they can be?
And furthermore, apparently Pincus’s sources were way off when analyzing the timetable Pelinka had to get things right. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin added that the deal wasn’t reached recently. In fact, it was reached during the same time that Darvin Ham was hired in May.
Lakers VP of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka signed an extension through the 2025-26 season, aligning his deal with new coach Darvin Ham’s, league sources confirmed to ESPN. The deal was reached around the time of Ham’s hiring. Yahoo had it first.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 8, 2022
There are a few caveats to be mentioned when analyzing Pelinka’s overall performance. First, there’s always been issues figuring out how much power other parties in the overall decisions made in the basketball operations department. Whether that pertains to LeBron James, Rich Paul, Kurt Rambis, Jeanie Buss, or others… Pelinka’s overall power — despite the name of his position — has always been questioned.
There’s also the fact that the Lakers won a championship under his reign. This should always be credited to Pelinka was analyzing his overall resume, as he signed Danny Green, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, and others in the 2019 offseason, with a lot of those signees becoming key contributors to that 2020 NBA Finals championship.
But that was then, and this is now. The league is a “What have you done for me lately?” league, and Pelinka hasn’t done anything well since that championship. Hopefully, the conservative approach to not trading Westbrook will prove fruitful to the Lakers, but there will be some time before that decision can be properly analyzed.
We’ll be updating the site more as we receive further updates from Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss regarding this shocking news.