The Los Angeles Lakers are heading into one of the most interesting offseasons in, well, at least a year. New general manager was asked about how they’ll move forward, but he really couldn’t answer, seeing as there’s so much in the air.
Right when the 2016-’17 campaign comes to a close, fans get to watch the collective heart attack that is the NBA lottery be showcased on national television. In all likelihood, the Lakers will have a slightly worse chance at keeping their own first rounder than the average coin flip that night.
May 16 is not going to be fun.
If they do somehow keep the top-three selection, Pelinka and his staff will get to decide on which prospect best fits what they want to do moving forward. Even further to that point, he and Magic Johnson will have to decide if they want to continue to rebuild around youth at all.
If the Lakers lose the pick, they’ll have to decide whether they want to add talent to the roster when the logical choice moving forward is to tank next year. Remember, if they lose their pick this June, their 2019 pick is also on the line.
Here’s how Pelinka put it, when asked by Lakers dot com’s Mike Trudell.
And then to the specifics to team building, there are a lot of uncertainties. Do we have our draft pick in June, or do we not? What free agents do extensions? What free agents become true free agents? What players from other teams are teams going to think about trading? There are millions and millions of combinations. It’s almost like a Rubik’s Cube. If you’re trying to solve it, there are many different combinations and turns you could make to get to the end path. You have to really study that board hard and make all the right turns to get there, but there is likely more than one way to get to the end.
But you have to stay focused, and keep turning and looking at it like a chess game, keep moving the pieces around the board knowing what the goal is. The goal is to win a championship and we’re going to do everything we can to bring that probability here again. But to articulate and say ‘Here’s step one, step two and all the way to 10’ is just impossible.
To summarize: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Regarding the Rubik’ cube analogy, it’s pretty clear they are going to remain open to any path back to contention, whether that’s through standing pat this year or potentially moving one or two of the kids to get better a little more quickly.
That’s the larger overriding point here: Pelinka hasn’t decided which direction they’ll take the Lakers and it’s probably for the best, considering how little we know about what they actually have to work with right now.
With just over a month to go before lottery night, get ready for more quotes like the one above, because as little as he knows about what the Lakers can do, Pelinka still appears to enjoy talking.