3 Lakers on Thin Ice if LeBron James Leaves

These three names would also likely depart if LeBron James were to leave Los Angeles this summer.
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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3. GM Rob Pelinka

If LeBron James, it will represent the end of an era in Los Angeles. During LeBron's time with the Lakers, the key decision-maker has been Rob Pelinka. The former agent who took over the general manager position in March 2017 has a mixed bag record during his tenure.

It is safe to say that Pelinka got extremely lucky when LeBron James decided to play in Los Angeles a year after he took office. Then, James had a huge role in recruiting Anthony Davis there, and the duo led the team to a championship.

This earned Pelinka a contract extension, but it's difficult to argue that he covered himself in glory outside of that championship year.

The mistake that defined Pelinka's tenure with the Lakers was breaking up the 2020 championship team. After the Lakers flamed out of the 2021 playoffs due to injuries, Pelinka pulled off a massive trade to bring the Russell Westbrook trade.

In this deal, the Lakers lost Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, and Montrezl Harrell. Danny Green and Alex Caruso also left in subsequent free agencies, leaving the Lakers with an ill-fitting team. Imagine if Caruso, Kuzma, and KCP were still on this team. Instead, Los Angeles had role players who couldn't shoot or defend for the past two seasons, the only two things you need to do playing next to James and AD.

Pelinka had six full seasons of LeBron James in his tenure. The Lakers only made it past the first round twice in these six seasons. He had two losing seasons in the meantime. Having arguably the greatest basketball player of all-time for six years and only making it past the first-round twice is a fireable offense. His time with the Lakers should come to an end regardless of what happens with LeBron James.

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