The Lakers Don’t operate from a position of strength when it comes to business negotiations right now. While this isn’t a particularly fun realization or fact, a team in win-win mode now from 3 to 10 will be treated as desperate in business discussions because, frankly, it probably is.
The Lakers are currently viewed by opposing teams as a team that could be leveraged in a trade as they look to get back into competition in some form. Up until that point, Lakers Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Rob Pelinka had stood firm in not making any panic moves, which was commended by an anonymous Western Conference executive.
In the last episode of The NBA Crossover Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck podcast, the latter talking about a conversation he had with Western Conference executives about the Lakers (emphasis mine).
So this quote was from the Western Conference CEO that I spoke to who mentioned that. He says, “Washington’s the one I’m keeping thinking that’s going to happen. If you’re the Lakers, don’t you think you can get Bradley Bell? He’s got a no-trade clause, and he wants to come to California”—that was an interesting take on this—”He can Basically picking where he wants to go (because of the no-trade clause) and the most the Lakers can really do bid is those two picks.But if he asked and said California or bankruptcy, Wizards, because of the no-trade clause, the Wizards would probably deal with a lower deal. Like if you put Bradley Bell on the block right now, open for the entire league, you’d get better than Westbrook plus a couple of options. I think you’d get a better offer. Although maybe not. Bradley Bell’s contract is huge, someone’s probably going to say ‘Hey’ We’re doing you a favor for pulling that huge necklace from your hands for a man who can’t afford a privilege. Is Westbrook and the two picks enough? Well, if Bradley Bell said “I just want to go to California or I just want to go to the Lakers because I have a non-trade clause and I can direct this thing… That’s the logic the Western Executive Conference laid out for me, and he said this: “Whatever you want to say about Pelinka, he’s smart, he takes his time.”“
None of this excuses Pelinka from compiling this list or not making a pre-season deal. Every day Russell Westbrook remains on the roster feels like another day lost to being a competitive side in the later years of LeBron James’ career.
Pelinka is basically going through the moment in her need to find a fair deal while feeling pressure and urgency to do so. It’s a situation he put himself in and no one else should be to blame for it, but he also doesn’t make the situation any worse.
As for the rest of the quote, it is Interestingly, Bradley Bell is starting to get more traction As a name the Lakers are interested in. As noted, the no-trade clause removes much of the leverage that handlers could have in this situation. We have seen many times how a player can dictate where they want to go in a trade, and this without even having a no-trade clause.
Bringing that factor into this situation basically means that Bale can go to any specific team he wants. The Lakers would be wise to put themselves on that team, but nothing seems forthcoming, there has been no indication that Bell specifically wants to be a Laker and the Lakers themselves don’t have much time to wait.
So while Rob Pelinka is making the right move by not panicking, the Lakers aren’t getting any worse. But they also can’t wait forever with this current roster, which puts Pelinka in a potential “damned if she do, damned if not” situation.