Lakers exceptionalism is back, and there is no clearer voice of this phenomenon than the team’s own general manager. Rob Pelinka, it seems, enjoys the salty tears of the rest of the NBA.
In consecutive offseasons, another team’s superstar (first Paul George, now Kawhi Leonard) shifted their gaze to the welcoming weather and bright lights the Lakers have to offer, with only one problem: their contracts. And, for the second straight summer, said star’s team (last year, the Indiana Pacers; now, the San Antonio Spurs) are doing whatever they can to avoid sending the face of their franchise to their preferred destination.
So, it begs the question: Are teams intentionally avoiding the Lakers in these transactions? If so, why? Well, Pelinka has a theory. (via Ohm Yungmisuk of ESPN)
“It’s interesting because we knew we wanted to try to acquire another pick in the beginning of the second round, and as I said, we’re in discussions on that, [but] we feel like we’re going to be able to accomplish that,” Pelinka said when asked whether the Lakers are encountering resistance from other teams in doing business during this pivotal offseason for the franchise. “So it’s not like teams are saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do a deal with the Lakers,’ but I do think when you have 16 banners, there’s going to be a natural envy from your competitors because you’re sitting at the top of the food chain, but that’s just life in general.”
Delicious. He continues.
“If you have success in any walk of life, you’re going to face that,” Pelinka said. “We don’t really see that as a challenge, we just see it as a reality, but we also feel like because of the DNA shift here and because of the energy around our team and our young core and our cap flexibility, that players want to be here. So whether other teams want to participate in that or not, we can’t control [that].”
INJECT IT INTO MY VEEEEEEEEINS.
(Note: This probably won’t help at all if teams are reluctant to do business with the Lakers out of jealousy but let’s just sit here and enjoy this tremendous example of ego at its best/worst.)