D’Angelo Russell: Rob Pelinka got snubbed in GM of the year voting
When the Los Angeles Lakers missed the play-in tournament last season and started 2-10 this season, many fans scapegoated Russell Westbrook, but executive Rob Pelinka received even more of the blame.
According to these people, Pelinka broke up the 2020 championship roster, brought in Westbrook who never fit in, and signed a bunch of over-the-hill role players who simply had nothing left in the tank.
But Pelinka started a reclamation project last summer by signing guards Lonnie Walker IV and Dennis Schroder, who have turned out to be important role players. He traded little-used Kendrick Nunn in late February for Rui Hachimura to give the team much-needed depth at forward.
Then came the trade that changed everything: Westbrook for D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley.
Suddenly, the Lakers were a relatively deep and balanced team where everyone fit and the roster made sense. Since the trade deadline, they have risen from the ashes like the mythical phoenix in Greek mythology. They have gone 27-12, including the postseason, since the players acquired for Westbrook made their debuts.
After L.A. knocked the Golden State Warriors out of the playoffs and advanced to the Western Conference finals on Friday, Russell said Pelinka should’ve been named the Executive of the Year.
D'Angelo Russell talking about Rob Pelinka remodeling this roster:
"He got snubbed for that GM award he was supposed to get."
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) May 13, 2023
The award went to Monte McNair of the Sacramento Kings, whose team finished third in the Western Conference despite many doubting it would make the playoffs. However, it fell in the first round to the Warriors.
Pelinka received no first-place votes and just one second and third-place vote.
Perhaps if that vote were taken again on Friday night, Pelinka would’ve won it or at least gotten much more consideration.
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