Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 26 No. 177
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.
  • Created with Sketch.

Lakers Acquiring Anthony Davis Marks A Win For Rob Pelinka

Pelinka had been one of the most-criticized executives in the NBA over the past few months
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Pelinka had been one of the most-criticized executives in the NBA over the past few months
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Pelinka had been one of the most-criticized executives in the NBA over the past few months
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Lakers' decision to acquire C Anthony Davis from the Pelicans in exchange for a package of players and draft picks, including the No. 4 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, is a "win" for Lakers GM Rob Pelinka, who has "taken a public flogging in recent months," according to Chris Mannix of SI.com. Saturday's trade was a "career-defining moment" for Pelinka as an NBA exec (SI.com, 6/15). In L.A., Bill Plaschke wrote the "most criticized executive in the league just pulled off a deal that made the Lakers relevant again" (L.A. TIMES, 6/16). The AP's Brett Martel noted getting the deal done "became a near-imperative" for Pelinka and Controlling Owner & CEO Jeanie Buss after the Lakers' "latest round of front-office drama" (AP, 6/15). THE ATHLETIC's Sam Amick wrote Pelinka "went for the kill," and he "knew that a trade of this magnitude was his only way out of this PR mess." Pelinka "deserves credit for the way this all wound up" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/15). In L.A., Kyle Goon wrote this trade is "certain to define the controversial tenure" of Pelinka (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/16).

HAD TO HAPPEN: ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said there was "incredible pressure" on Buss and Pelinka to "get a deal done and bring Anthony Davis to the Lakers." He added, "This was their one chance to make a dramatic improvement to that organization in the short term and long term" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/16). ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne wrote the "only way for Pelinka to truly relieve some of the pressure on himself and the franchise was to acquire a superstar at any cost." The Lakers "simply could not afford to miss on this trade and free agency again" (ESPN.com, 6/16). THE ATHLETIC's Brian Kamenetzky noted the "presence of James and the wide open window for Davis also put a tremendous amount of pressure" on Pelinka to "close the deal." If the Lakers "got cute and some other team had swooped in unexpectedly ... judgment would have been swift and harsh" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/15). ESPN's Mike Golic Jr. said, "You had to do something if you were Rob Pelinka, and this is a damn good bit of something" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 6/17). 

THE BRIGHT SIDE: In Seattle, Matt Calkins wrote the "biggest smile likely belonged" to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, with the move making the Lakers "instant championship contenders." The move also "likely saved the NBA from a ratings dip that would have continued had James not gotten help" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/16). THE ATHLETIC's David Aldridge wrote it has already been "seen what James can do when he’s playing next to a legit problem: His team goes to the NBA Finals, multiple times." That is "good news not just for Lakers fans but also for ESPN and TNT, who need both the King and the Lakers to be good again." The ratings are "not the same without the marquee team in the league’s second-biggest market and one of its seminal franchises in the pink" (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/15). In DC, Ben Golliver wrote the NBA world, in "desperate need of a new central force, has found it in a predictable place: Los Angeles, capital of reinvention" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16). ESPN's Jay Williams: "We talked about the Lakers being the Kardashians of the NBA a couple of days ago and now all of a sudden, they’re title contenders" ("Get Up," ESPN, 6/17).

QUITE THE TURNAROUND: THE ATHLETIC’s William Guillory wrote the Lakers with the Davis trade went from the “biggest joke in the NBA to a legit title contender in an instant” (THEATHLETIC.com, 6/15). The L.A. TIMES' Plaschke wrote this was a “trade for a championship.” The Lakers in getting Davis “returned hope to a hopelessly lost franchise, real hope, ring hope” (L.A. TIMES, 6/16). ESPN's Dave McMenamin: "This is turning the page. It's fresh new air, a new atmosphere, and now they can look forward to next year" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 6/16). In L.A., Dan Woike wrote the Lakers “did the only thing they could this summer to put them in the conversation for a meaningful free agency signing” (L.A. TIMES, 6/16). THE RINGER's Kevin O'Connor wrote the Lakers have "suddenly gone from a hopelessly average team to the franchise with the league’s brightest future" (THERINGER.com, 6/15). In L.A., Jim Alexander wrote under the header, "Two Days In, The Lakers Have Won The Offseason ... For What That's Worth" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/16). ESPN's Trey Wingo said, "When the Lakers are relevant, everybody is relevant and that's the thing that's going to make this interesting across the board for the NBA" ("Golic & Wingo," ESPN Radio, 6/17). SI.com’s Rob Mahoney wrote things “just seem to happen for the Lakers, for no other reason than the fact that they’re the Lakers.” Enough people in and around the basketball world “believe in the franchise’s mystique as to make it real” (SI.com, 6/15). In L.A., Mark Heisler writes the Lakers are "once more the Lakers, the NBA's glamour franchise, the stars' destination choice" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/17).

WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: USA TODAY’s Dan Wolken wrote the NBA landscape “suddenly looks as wide open as it has been in awhile" with Warriors F Kevin Durant and G Klay Thompson suffering injuries in the NBA Finals that will “take them out of most or all” of the ’19-20 season. Wolken: “This is the Lakers’ turn to go for it. They have to” (USATODAY.com, 6/15). The DAILY NEWS' Goon writes a team with James and Davis "poses a real threat in a post-Warriors-dynasty world" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 6/17). USA TODAY’s Josh Peter wrote with the Davis deal, the Lakers are “but a step away from overtaking the Warriors as the most powerful team in the Western Conference.” This trade could have a "profound impact on the Warriors’ ability to maintain their status as top dogs of the Western Conference” (USATODAY.com, 6/15). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy wrote now is a “good time to go all-in” for the Lakers -- “especially in the Western Conference -- because the Warriors are depleted” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/16). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins wrote it is a “whole new day” in the NBA with the Davis trade. Jenkins: “For certain, the Warriors have a mighty in-state challenge on their hands” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/16).