Westbrook trade and 9 other regrettable Lakers moves Pelinka botched

Los Angeles Lakers, Russell Westbrook, Alex Caruso. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers, Russell Westbrook, Alex Caruso. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Los Angeles Lakers missed the playoffs in 2022, and it felt like they were destined to be back in the lottery after a 2-10 start to the regular season before LeBron James and company came firing back. Some shrewd moves by general manager Rob Pelinka helped them make the playoffs and advance to the Western Conference Finals.

The top-seeded Denver Nuggets dominated the Lakers to advance to the NBA Finals, but it was still an impressive comeback that should have fans questioning where they should go next. Will Pelinka bring back their current core or do they go hunting for a third star this summer? The Kyrie Irving rumors are not going anywhere, but it will be on Pelinka to decide where to take the Lakers next.

The 53-year-old general manager has a hit-and-miss track record since joining the Lakers in 2017. Pelinka started as LA’s number two decision-maker under Magic Johnson before taking over in 2019 after the Hall of Famer’s abrupt exit. Where has Pelinka messed up?

Los Angeles Lakers’ most regrettable moves under Rob Pelinka

10. Dennis Schroder trade

After winning the title in the bubble, Pelinka traded Danny Green and the 28th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft for Schroder. The 6’3 guard was just runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year, and he provided some much-needed ball-handling and playmaking for the Lakers.

Schroder became a starter in LA, and he played well enough that the Lakers offered him a four-year $84 million contract, which the 6’3 guard turned down. The franchise dealt with injuries and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Phoenix Suns. Schroder played well, but this was a botched move by Pelinka because of what they gave up.

Danny Green was a key piece of their title team, including starting and averaging 25.0 minutes per game throughout the playoffs. The 6’6 wing spaced the floor and played stout defense. The Lakers also gave up the 28th pick, which turned into Jaden McDaniels, but they were rumored to be interested in Desmond Bane before trading that pick.

Getting a young talent on a rookie contract would have been a wise move, but the Los Angeles Lakers opted for the short-term fix. Imagine, Bane or McDaniels playing next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis in 2023. It could have been if Rob Pelinka would have kept the pick after winning the title in 2020.