While initial reports said that Leonard would only meet with team president and governor Jeanie Buss, he’s reportedly open to the idea of meeting with general manager Rob Pelinka as well, according to Broderick Turner and Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
While Leonard’s camp had initially requested that only Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss be present from the Lakers’ front office, they are now considering expanding the meeting to include Pelinka.
With Johnson now out of the picture — at least in an official role — Buss and Pelinka are the two most powerful people in the Lakers’ organization. While they could pitch Leonard on the rich history of the team and the financial benefits that come with playing in Los Angeles, the most important message Buss and Pelinka have to convey is overall organizational togetherness and, of course, that they have the right formula for winning basketball.
If Leonard is going to leave a world class organization like the Raptors, who just won their first championship in franchise history earlier this month, it’s going to have to be because the Lakers sold him on a sustainable team, both on an off the court. That means there can’t be a revolving door of head coaches, nor can their be dramatic roster turnover every year.
In other words, it can’t just be the status quo for the Lakers going forward.
Luckily, they’ll also have a pretty attractive product to sell on the court with Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Outside of the Raptors, there isn’t a single team that can offer Leonard such an easy pathway back to the NBA Finals.
Of course, the front office has to do their part, but for the first time in a long time, the Lakers can let their talent do the talking. Hopefully that’s enough for Buss and Pelinka to get this over the finish line.