Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has kept conspicuously quiet to this point, but she used her first public comments of the offseason at the NBA Awards show to support her general manager, Rob Pelinka.
“I have 100% confidence in him in running his basketball operations,” Buss said via the Los Angeles Times. “He’s brought us a great new head coach in Frank Vogel, whose teams have had a lot of success in the playoffs and who have played consistently ranking high in defense, which means not only does he emphasize defense but the players buy into his defensive schemes.”
Pelinka has faced criticism since taking over as the Lakers GM in 2017, and rightfully so since the team missed the playoffs despite landing LeBron James last summer. But those critiques reached a fever pitch this summer when Magic Johnson accused Pelinka of being a backstabber on ESPN’s First Take.
“I’ve always had confidence in Rob,” Buss said, via ESPN. “Whatever the speculation that’s out there, we don’t need the outside media to validate the things that we do. I’m very happy, I think we are on the right path, but there's still more work to do.”
While Buss was supportive of Pelinka, she also added that she was shocked by Johnson’s abrupt resignation, saying that he is “full of surprises.” Still, she remains optimistic about the direction of the team with Pelinka.
Buss reiterated that the Lakers will be evaluated by how they finish, since six straight seasons without a playoff appearance is unacceptable. The Lakers landed their big fish in Davis, but they’ll have to fill out their roster with potentially one more max player and several cheap veterans.
“Dr. Buss set the bar high for the Lakers,” Buss said of her father, the longtime Lakers owner. “There's the gold standard, and then there's the purple-and-gold standard. Certainly, we are going to do everything we can to get the best players possible and to get the Lakers back to consistently be at that level. But we got a ways to go, and I think we are [heading] in the right direction, but at the end of the day, we will be judged by our wins and losses.”
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