NBA Hoops

Rob Pelinka — Rui Hachimura move ‘doesn’t mean our work is finished’

Rob Pelinka -- Rui Hachimura move 'doesn't mean our work is finished'

LOS ANGELES — Having already made a major move 2½ weeks before the NBA trade deadline by acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards on Monday, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka still stressed urgency in upgrading the roster.

“[We] felt like it was an opportunity for us to strike early and address a need in a market that has proven to be a little bit slow,” Pelinka said before the Lakers lost 133-115 to the LA Clippers on Tuesday, joining Hachimura for an introductory news conference. “And [it] doesn’t mean our work is finished. We’re going to continue to monitor the situation with the 29 other teams.

“… Our job as a front office is always to look to improve our team both now and in the future, and we felt like Rui was the perfect way to do that, and that’s why we struck early.”

Pelinka was asked if the Lakers’ pursuit of deals leading up to the Feb. 9 trade deadline will include parting with the franchise’s 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in order to complete a deal. Los Angeles was able to hold on to those picks in the Wizards trade, sending Kendrick Nunn and three future second-round picks to Washington.

“I think the calculus for the Lakers is to win a championship or not. There’s no in-between or incremental growth,” Pelinka said. “So as we analyze opportunities, we have to do it through that lens. And, I said this at the beginning of the season, if there’s an opportunity to get all the way to the end and win a championship, there’s no resource we’ll hold on to if we feel like that’s there.”

Part of that commitment to compete is motivated by LeBron James, now in his 20th season, who inked a two-year extension with the Lakers in the offseason — pledging the twilight of his prime to the franchise while still yearning to add to his four career titles.

“The completely unwise thing to do would be to shoot a bullet early and then not have it later when you have a better championship move you can make,” Pelinka said. “That’s a really delicate calculus and something the entire front office, we evaluate with all the moves. If we see a move that puts us as a front-runner to get another championship here, the 18th one here, we’ll make it. And if that move doesn’t present itself, we’ll be smart and make it at a later time.”

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