Before the Lakers left for Disney World, their general manager, Rob Pelinka, spoke about the importance of what he called “flex-staffing” for their 37-person travel party that was going to Orlando for the NBA restart.
“We’re all going to have to call upon different things we can do, and be service-oriented for the players,” Pelinka said then. “If it means any of us pitching in to an area that we normally don’t do in our day-to-day operations, we’ve got to be willing to do it,”
For the Lakers, members of the traveling party and fans at home alike had to look no further than video of Pelinka rebounding for Anthony Davis at one of the team’s recent practices to see this concept in action.
For those unfamiliar, that is not normal GM work. It’s also not the only way Pelinka has been chipping in, as Lakers head coach Frank Vogel outlined on his Thursday morning Zoom call with reporters.
“He’s been wonderful. He’s led our group with the encouragement that everybody is going to be doing flex staffing, and willing to do any job to help out,” Vogel said, and that mindset apparently goes for himself as well.
“In one of our drills, I didn’t see any readily available cones, so I stood off of one elbow and he stood off of the other elbow, and the players had to run around us. We served as cones during practice, which was new for both of us,” Vogel said with a laugh.
For clarification, I reached out to the league on the cone situation in Disney World, and a spokesperson said that while the NBA provided the space, larger equipment and other furnishings for teams, due to cleaning protocols necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, individual organizations were in charge of bringing their own smaller items they’d need for practice, likes cones or physio balls.
Vogel did say he didn’t see any cones readily available, so it’s possible the Lakers have some, but either way, it seems they have found a pretty innovative solution if they didn’t bring any.
“We’re just honestly, the group that we have here, we’re having a lot of fun. This idea that we all just have to pick up the slack, carry the bags, we’re all buying into it and embracing it, and making the best of it,” Vogel said.
Whether that means their head coach pretending to be a cone, or their general manager taking a break from draft prep to rebound for their star, it appears the Lakers really are ready to do literally anything as they chase their 17th banner.