New Lakers GM Rob Pelinka vows to be aggressive in his attempts to get the franchise back on the winning path, as Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News relays. “We have to get better talent for [Luke Walton] to coach. We have to develop our young players. Our timeline is to be aggressive and to grow with quality players,” Pelinka said. “All of these things are like a chess game. You’ve got to start moving pieces around the board before you can win the game.”
The former agent wouldn’t commit to a timeline regarding a turnaround, adding that “it’s impossible to predict.” He said the front office will put in the necessary hard work and it will be “committed to excellence every day.” Team president Magic Johnson didn’t commit to a timeline either, but he also took accountability for the team’s future.
“If we can’t do our job, then I’m going to hand the keys back to Jeanie and step aside,” Johnson said. “If I see I can’t do it, I’ll gladly step aside.”
Here’s more from Los Angeles:
- Jerry West was interested in returning to the Lakers, but he didn’t match owner Jeanie Buss‘ “vision for the future,” sources tell Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. West’s son, Ryan, currently works for the Lakers and is expected to remain with the team.
- Ding adds (same piece) that while Kobe Bryant remains “loyal” to Pelinka, though the future Hall of Famer is sticking to his plan of pursuing business ventures rather than chasing a front office role.
- Despite the down season, both Pelinka and Johnson support Walton as the team’s coach, Medina adds in the aforementioned piece. Johnson recently referred to Walton as “the right man for the job.”
- Pelinka believes in the Lakers‘ young talent, though he admits to being unsure about the team’s title chances with its existing core, Medina passes along in that same piece. “I don’t know,” Pelinka said in response to a question about the team’s ability to win a title with its core players. “But I do know this. We have a championship coach and Earvin and I are going to put in a championship accountability system to make sure any player that has the honor to put that jersey on is striving for greatness, is working hard and is a person of integrity.”