A few weeks ago there was a report that prior to the 2018 NBA Trade Deadline, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka had told Larry Nance, Jr. to go ahead and buy a house, and that he wouldn’t be traded.
We all know what happened next. Nance didn’t end up actually buying that house, because before he could, he was dealt to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline. That anecdote was the latest to perpetuate the growing narrative about Pelinka being untrustworthy that’s taken hold since Magic Johnson resigned.
The only problem? That story is apparently not true, at least according to Nance himself, who would seem likely to know better than anyone, and took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to deny the veracity of the rumor:
Just got a chance to read some of these articles about Rob Pelinka supposedly promising me I’d stay in LA.. Wanted to clear the air and say that is not the case. This league is a business and we all know it. Rob and I had and still have a great relationship.— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) April 30, 2019
It is important to note here, just for posterity’s sake, that Nance did not directly say that Pelinka didn’t tell him to buy a house (which he ultimately didn’t do anyway, it’s just worth noting).
Still, even if it was several weeks after the story initially came out, it was nice of Nance to address this, something he definitely didn’t have any obligation to do given that he no longer works with Pelinka. It’s possible that he meant that all of that story about him and Pelinka wasn’t accurate in his view, and whatever part he felt wasn’t true, it was the right thing for him to do to respond to it. It also would have been easier to stay out of it, so good on Nance for doing what he feels is honorable.
This also is just the latest shift away from the narrative that Pelinka can’t be trusted, a storyline that resurfaced when Andrew Bogut said that the Lakers front office lied to him, continued when anonymous executives complained about how hard he is to work with and began back when he was Carlos Boozer’s agent during the forward’s infamous exit from the Cavaliers (you can read more about that situation further down in this story).
However, there were also recently some people around the league who said they’ve had positive dealings with Pelinka, and his former clients have said they appreciated how he would get the best deal for them “by any means necessary,” a quality that it’s easy to see would be endearing to the Lakers, and probably less endearing to other teams.
Ultimately, though, all that matters for the Lakers is whether Pelinka can do this job. Opinions on him are clearly mixed, but if he isn’t seen as so untrustworthy by the majority of the league that he can still do his job and work with other executives effectively, he may have a chance to have some success. If he’s really as loathed as some will have you believe, that may be considerably more difficult.
Ultimately, there is enough mixed opinion — and context for those opinions — that it’s impossible to know for sure what the truth is right now. It might lie somewhere in the middle, where some like Pelinka and some don’t, which would seem to be the simplest answer. Regardless, how Pelinka treats players going forward and how effectively he’s able to negotiate with other general managers will be something to monitor moving forward, even if Nance just did him a huge favor by posterizing one of the worst stories on his resume.