Rob Pelinka Rumors
“It is especially gratifying for our Lakers franchise to draft, develop and now sign one of our own to a contract extension,” said Pelinka. “Kyle has shown tremendous growth over the last three years, and played a crucial role on last season’s championship team. Kyle has been a terrific member of the Lakers community and we are all very excited about his continued future with us.”
For the Lakers’ general manager and vice president of basketball operations, watching the chess-themed miniseries “The Queen’s Gambit” provided a good analogy to his approach to free agency during this abbreviated NBA off-season. “I don’t know if anyone has watched that show,” he said, “but free agency is a little bit like playing a game of simultaneous chess with 29 other teams and they’re all really smart and they have their plans and their boards and they’re going to make their moves and we’ve thought out our various chess moves that we can make and you never know exactly how the game’s going to be played out. “I think if you watch that show on Netflix you see the ins and outs of chess and how to study the board, but you don’t know until you play the game how it’s going to go.”
These aren’t the glitzy “Lake Show” Lakers. Their work ethic is more lunch pail than lavish expense-account lunch. The newcomers’ hunger and energy should fit in well. “I think Frank Vogel and his coaching staff have made it clear that the identity of this team is centered on defense and just playing gritty, tenacious basketball,” Pelinka said. “When you have talented guys like LeBron and AD things on the offensive end are going to work themselves out. “You look at the guys we added: Schroder I think is a pit bull of a defender. Montrezl Harrell is one of the hardest-playing players in the NBA, just the way he brings it every night. I think Marc Gasol, [the 2013] defensive player of the year who is one of the highest-IQ players in today’s game, and then Wesley Matthews, who manages to stand out.”
“I think it’s really building a team around the identity of kind of how the coaching staff wants to coach. And that’s with defense and high basketball IQ and grit, and that’s how we built it,” Pelinka said. “Those threads and those themes can run through a franchise and can continue because it’s just the natural part of sports that players will come and go, but if you have that identity in who you are and how you play, that’ll endure, and that’s what this team’s about right now.”
Melissa Rohlin: Rob Pelinka on the Lakers signing LeBron James to such a lucrative contract extension that takes him through 2023 and age 38. “It wasn’t even a debate for us,” he said, adding that James will provide “extraordinary” value every year.