NBA Franchise Notes: Pelinka Under Pressure To Deliver This Offseason
The Lakers moved up from the 11th to the fourth overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery, and in L.A., Andrew Greif writes if Lakers GM Rob Pelinka "messes this up, it will probably be the last thing he messes up." Simply put, Pelinka "probably needs to hit a home run in the draft and free agency to keep his title." With last night's "sudden rush of luck, he had better start swinging" (L.A. TIMES, 5/15). Pelinka inside the closed lottery room "seemed perturbed when an ESPN announcer said the fourth pick provides him a better chance at landing" Pelicans C Anthony Davis. Pelinka "just shook his head" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/15).
PIVOTAL MOMENT: On Long Island, Barbara Barker writes Knicks management, who landed the third overall pick, had "no control over what ping-pong balls were plucked out of the lottery container" last night, but they "have a lot of say in what happens next." What kind of sales job they are "able to do over the next seven or so weeks may determine just how quickly this team is able to push the reset button." While this past season "may have been one of the worst in Knicks history, this offseason has the potential to be one of the best" (NEWSDAY, 5/15).
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE: In Houston, Brian Smith wrote the Rockets, a franchise owned by a "flashy multibillionaire and featuring one of the biggest basketball stars in the world too often feels small-time." Smith: "Petty things and flimsy complaints are maximized. Huge, team-defining decisions are conveniently swept into a corner when they publicly backfire." The biggest names are "allowed to run the entire show, despite lacking a trophy and rings." If longtime Rockets GM Daryl Morey had not received a five-year contract extension in March, he "would currently be in the national cross hairs" instead of coach Mike D'Antoni (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/13).