Lakers Rumors: Rob Pelinka’s genius shown in Montrezl Harrell deal

Sep 27, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka answers a question during the Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka answers a question during the Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo, CA. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Lakers rumors
Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports – Lakers Rumors /

Montrezl Harrell was not a name in the Los Angeles Lakers rumors prior to signing with the defending champs.

In one of the more stranger Lakers rumors in a while, Dwight Howard’s exit from the Lakers was memorable. But this story is about how Rob Pelinka turns a dysfunctional media situation into a smokescreen to sign the reigning 6th Man of the year from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rob Pelinka deserves a promotion and a pay raise. Oh, he got that last year? Who cares? He needs another one. In less than six hours, he has shown that he is more competent than the Kupchak/Buss and Magic Johnson eras in a tenure-based around one player…Dwight Howard.

It’s amazing that one player illustrates the character (Or competence!) between the two prior front offices.

The Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak era:

See before this season, the Los Angeles Lakers percentage-wise was tied with the New York Knicks as the worst NBA team since 2013. That period started when Dwight Howard left the Lakers under questionable circumstances.

Dwight Howard arrived to the Lakers in a trade with the understanding that he would sign a max deal spanning seven years paying him $120 million. With the front office and culture eroding with the death of Dr. Buss, the Dwight Howard exodus to Houston shocked Lakers Nation to the point it still gets under much of the fanbase’s skin to this day. 

His departure led to the front office spending the next five years handing out horrible contracts with one that still lives on the salary cap as of this writing. Yes, Lakers fans, the team STILL owes Luol Deng $5 million for this year. 

Contracts like Deng’s (Don’t forget Timofey’s Mozgov’s contract!) and the Lakers going nowhere gave Jeanie Buss the right to fire Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak and replace them with Magic Johnson and at the time “Kobe Bryant’s best friend” Rob Pelinka.

Magic Johnson/Rob Pelinka era: 

After signing LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers pushed all of their chips in (Literally the entire locker room not named LeBron and yes, JaVale McGee!) to acquire Anthony Davis. The saga played out in front of the NBA world in a way making this past Presidential Election look like a Sunday afternoon Lifetime movie. After not getting AD in an effort that wrecked the locker room,  the Lakers settled for Reggie Bullock and Mike Muscala.

The embarrassment of a dysfunctional front office plagued the Lakers for the rest of the year and Magic Johnson resigning 45 minutes before the regular-season finale did not help.

Rob Pelinka must have been studying the landscape of the Lakers franchise and learned his lessons well. He handled a dysfunctional Dwight Howard departure (Again!) quietly and pulled off the free agency steal of the offseason.

How, you ask? Follow along, this is going to be good.

Dwight Howard was under the belief that he was returning to the team with a one-year, $3 million deal on the table. Here’s where the ghosts of dysfunction come in according to Yahoo Sports.

"Lakers management informed Howard’s agent that they had to consult with team ownership and seek approval before making an official offer, sources said. Howard waited for nearly an hour without hearing back, sources said. Communication was strictly between the Lakers front office and Howard’s agent, sources said. However, sources within the organization are adamant that a formal offer was never made, maintaining that dialogue was merely a “deal concept.” Howard thought if he agreed to the “deal concept” that it was a done deal, sources said."

A special Lake Show Life shoutout to Jason Reed for the site’s troll tweet of the offseason.

While NBA pundits such as Skip Bayless started the narrative of the Lakers (AKA LeBron James!) sinking because of Dwight going to Philadelphia…

"Wait, the Lakers were begging Dwight Howard to stay but he took $2.6 mil to play for Doc and back up Embiid??? Dwight must’ve really not wanted to play with LeBron any more."

Rob Pelinka calmly signs the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell.

Not only did he upgrade the roster with a hard-working talent, but he did it a very salary cap friendly price of $19 million over two years.

Two things happened here that show the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office is in good hands with Rob Pelinka.

  • One, he didn’t panic when Dwight was Dwight sending out an announcement before the paperwork was done and bailed town like in 2013.
  • Two, Pelinka had a backup plan that was better than the original and kept quiet so no one could imagine a deal of this magnitude was done.

While Lake Show Life’s Zane Harris breaks down what Montrezl Harrell’s impact will be for the hardwood…

This article over the next several pages will show the leaguewide impact of the deal that mainly includes their hallway rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers.

A year ago, the Clippers were the favorites for the NBA title for the belief that a front office that includes Jerry West and NBA Executive of the Year Lawrence Frank had outclassed Robe Pelinka with the signing of Kawhi Leonard.

Let’s start with deals that turned both franchises around.