Rob Pelinka grateful for LeBron James’s praise for Lakers’ free agency moves

LAS VEGAS — Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was widely praised after a hugely successful debut freeing up the desk, but one man’s endorsement was particularly meaningful.

LeBron James posted photos of each player publicly approved by the Lakers on social media.

“It was also nice to see him celebrate the selection, once we got it done, you know, Instagram to celebrate his teammates,” Pelinka told a handful of reporters during summer league in Vegas on Sunday. posts and a series of different things.” … “And LeBron is such a leader. He knows how to energize and bring the group together and we are so excited to have him behind this.

In a whirlwind of moves during the first two days of free agency, Pelinka re-signed Austin Reeves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, while adding Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and Jackson Hayes.

Pelinka said he prioritized adding height to the roster after the Lakers were defeated by the eventual champion Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

Pelinka said, “If you want to win the championship, you have to go through the defending champions and Denver’s size, I think, was something that was really clear to us that we wanted to improve our wing depth. ” “And so that was another thing that was accomplished with the group that we put together.”

The Lakers, who currently have 13 players under contract, know exactly how to fill one of their two remaining roster spots.

“We’re in the market to add another big,” Pelinka said, adding that he would look for someone with a skill other than the 6-foot-11 Hayes to test the team’s depth in the middle. Dimensions.

Pelinka declined to comment on the Lakers’ upcoming decision on Davis’ contract extension, citing CBA rules. Davis has one more year guaranteed on his $40.6 million contract with an early termination option. He will be eligible for a maximum three-year, $167 million extension on August 4.

Pelinka said, “I wish the CBA would allow us to talk about negotiations before allowing them, but there are pretty strict rules about that.” “So, I can’t really talk about contracts and negotiations. But I couldn’t rate Anthony Davis any higher as a Laker and as a player. He helped our franchise win the championship. He has been an incredible captain and leader. We saw last year that he was willing to play through a serious foot injury to lead his team to the Western Conference Finals. So I am thrilled to have him as a part of our team.

However, Pelinka made it clear that both Davis and James were making good progress following their respective foot injuries, which kept Davis out for 20 consecutive games and James for 13 consecutive games. James said in March that he would undergo an MRI in the off-season to determine whether he needed surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right foot.

Pelinka said, “All the reports are good on both injuries, in terms of the players being able to recover from them.”

As for James, who indicated that he was considering retiring in May after the Lakers lost, Pelinka did not provide any new information about James’ mentality. (Sources recently told Fox Sports they are confident James will return.)

Peilanka said, “We want to let LeBron speak about his plans and his future.” “It was great hanging out with him in the off-season. And I love watching him coach his son, Bryce, in Peach Jam. That’s what the off-season is for: time to dive into family.”

While Pelinka acknowledged that James’ praise meant a lot to him during free agency, he said he tries to pay less attention to outside noise, whether positive or negative.

“When I first took this job… Kobe [Bryant] Said, “You can’t get caught up in praise or else your head will be held high.” You cannot run with criticism otherwise you will lose your confidence. Just keep on working. And I’ve always had that as a guideline for the work we’ve done.

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