Sometimes after a player is traded, they have hard feelings towards their former team. That’s not the case with Danny Green and the Lakers, however.
Instead, Green told Mellisa Rohlin of Fox Sports that he’s just grateful for the opportunity the Lakers gave him to win while making more money than he ever thought possible:
“There’s no love lost at all,” Green said. “You know, they gave me a contract that I never dreamed that I would ever get, and playing in a city I never thought I would play for and winning a championship. It just so happens that you can’t maintain that; that’s hard to do that. But I got a championship, I got a ring and I did get an unbelievable contract. I couldn’t dream as a kid — I never thought I’d be making that in my life.”
Perhaps more notable, though, was what Green had to say about Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
During the summer of 2019, there were tons of stories implying that Pelinka was not seen as a trustworthy figure around the league. Former Lakers center Andrew Bogut said he felt Pelinka had lied to him when he signed in Los Angeles, while anonymous executives complained that he was difficult to work with as a result. There was even a report that he’d told former Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. to buy a house in L.A. and then traded him (a report that we should note Nance refuted a few weeks afterwards, but it still colored the way Pelinka was seen).
All of it left a perception that Pelinka could be a bit cold or calculating, and even if most who followed the team closely during Pelinka’s first year having full control of the team realized that wasn’t the case because of how much the Lakers worked to take care of their players in every way during this title run, it’s still notable to hear how grateful Green was for the way Pelinka handled trading him (emphasis mine):
With James about to turn 36, the Lakers needed to get him some help.
“They were actively looking for a playmaker throughout the end of the year last year,” Green said. “We tried to bring in Dion [Waiters], we tried to bring in some other guys. WIth the loss of [Rajon] Rondo and the loss of Dion and some other guys, they had to find another fit to give ‘Bron a rest, et cetera.
“So they’re going to try to make moves to get better, and I wasn’t shocked that they were going to look for a guy like Dennis Schroder. Unfortunately, obviously, I had to be on the other end of it. But it’s part of the business. So be it. It’s how it goes.
“When it happened, I talked to a couple of people beforehand, so it wasn’t a blindside. I talked to R.P. [Rob Pelinka], he told me there’s going to be rumors about this, that and the other. They told me when they were going to make the trade before the trade actually officially happened. So, like I said, I wasn’t blindsided by it.”
Again, it was easy to tell from the way Pelinka clearly worked to take care of everything players needed during the bubble, and the way that he worked with LeBron James and Anthony Davis last summer to assemble every part of this roster that he was maybe seen a bit more favorably by players than previously thought, but this is still good news for the team’s perception around the league.
Trades are always going to happen. As Green noted, “it’s part of the business.” What doesn’t have to be part of the business, though, is trades that a player has no idea about beforehand. Obviously sometimes circumstances make that unavoidable, especially around the trade deadline, but Pelinka seems to have handled this situation with Green as well as humanly possible, keeping him informed every step of the way so he wouldn’t have to find out he was moving when he got a Woj notification on his phone. Even if he didn’t want to be traded, that kind of candor and transparency is always better than the alternative for a team’s reputation.
None of this means that everyone in the NBA loves Pelinka, or that no player will ever feel like they were wronged by the Lakers again. Stuff happens. But in this case, Green didn’t feel blindsided, and if this is indicative of how Pelinka will approach most similar situations down the line, that’s good news for the Lakers moving forward.