Report: Rob Pelinka’s job with Lakers is likely safe

Jason Simpson
4 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a precarious position, as they’re in the market for a new head coach with no clear plan to get one.

Not long ago, there were reasons for cautious optimism, with the Lakers being heavily linked to college basketball coaching star Dan Hurley. But with that dream now dead in the water, L.A. is left picking up the pieces.

This isn’t the first time Lakers executive Rob Pelinka has failed to secure his primary coaching target, as the Purple and Gold went after Tyronn Lue years ago before losing him to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Now that another top target has slipped through the cracks, Pelinka’s reputation may be taking a hit around the league — but that doesn’t mean the Lakers have any plans to move on from him.

“It’s actually pretty extraordinary that Pelinka now has both the Lue fiasco on his resume and now gets to add this latest disappointment to it,” wrote Lakers Daily’s Anthony Irwin. “Not many executives would survive one such public humiliation, let alone two. Pelinka does have the 2020 championship to point to in between those failures, but this is a pretty daunting hit to his reputation around the league.

“For what it’s worth, sources say it’s unlikely this increases the temperature on his seat. The Lakers’ focus is still solely on finding a new coach, with the front office unlikely to be altered.”

The Lakers were surely hoping to land a clear upgrade at head coach after parting ways with Darvin Ham, but doing so has turned into a tricky task.

Pelinka certainly deserves credit for some of the accomplishments he has put together with the Lakers. The organization’s run to the 2020 NBA title will never be forgotten, and its trip to the 2023 Western Conference Finals was a magical time for fans.

But overall, the Lakers haven’t always made the best use of veteran superstar LeBron James’ time with the franchise, and it’s anyone’s guess how much longer L.A. will get to enjoy his services. James is 39 and could become a free agent this offseason, though sources close to the team still feel good about keeping him around.

“Sources close to the Lakers say they are still confident James will retire a Laker, but if his focus is winning a championship before he calls it quits, it’s hard to envision that happening given the current state of affairs on Pelinka’s watch,” wrote Irwin.

The Lakers finished the 2023-24 season with a 47-35 record before using the play-in tournament to reach the first round of the playoffs. There, they were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in five games, ultimately closing the book on Ham’s tenure.

There has been plenty to worry about since then, and the Lakers would likely be wise to get things sorted out — including their coaching search — before the NBA offseason officially begins, or else they may have a hard time selling themselves to players around the league.

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Jason is excited about the LeBron James era of Lakers basketball and hopes that the end result will be multiple championships.