Rob Pelinka on Lakers Next Season: Anything Short of a Title Is Not Success

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: General manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers (L) talks with head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers (R) during the 2019 Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said Friday the team must win the 2020 NBA title to consider next season a successful one.

"For us, anything short of a championship is not success," Pelinka told reporters.

The first year of the LeBron James era in L.A. fell well short of expectations. The Lakers posted a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs by 11 games in the loaded Western Conference. James was limited to 55 appearances by injuries.

The bar has been raised considerably after a summer of blockbuster moves.

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Pelinka and Co. orchestrated a monster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire superstar forward Anthony Davis. The deal cost them most of their depth as point guard Lonzo Ball, shooting guard Josh Hart and small forward Brandon Ingram headed to NOLA.

In turn, the Lakers have signed several notable veterans in free agency to fill out the rotation. Center DeMarcus Cousins headlines the group, which also features forward Jared Dudley and guards Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook and Troy Daniels.

Los Angeles also re-signed guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo and Alex Caruso as well as center JaVale McGee. Kyle Kuzma leads the group of returnees.

The Lakers now feature one of the NBA's deepest rosters, though they haven't been able to attract a third true superstar to play with James and Davis. If Cousins is at full strength, he could fill the void.

Oddsmakers have made the Lakers the top choice for the 2020 championship at +350 (bet $100 to win $350) ahead of the rival Los Angeles Clippers (+400) and the Milwaukee Bucks (+450), per Caesars Palace.

Calling it a title-or-bust season for the Lakers is a fair assessment from Pelinka.

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