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Rob Pelinka’s Trade Talks: Battling the ‘Lakers Tax’ Like a Champion


Rumors claim Rob Pelinka faced a “Lakers tax” in trade talks.

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t make a move before the NBA trade deadline despite being involved in numerous rumors. But it may not have been for a lack of trying. Speculation is that rival teams were asking for much more from general manager, Rob Pelinka, in trade negotiations than they were for other teams.

They’re calling it a “Lakers tax,” according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Rumors suggest LA didn’t agree with the asking prices from rival teams for role players. For that reason, the front office decided not to make a move.

“In conversations with rival teams, there was a sense of something of a ‘Lakers tax,’ with Los Angeles being asked to pay more for role players in potential deals than other suitors. The Lakers were surprised by some of the final prices quoted for certain players. Several of the Lakers’ top targets — [Dejounte] Murray, Toronto’s Bruce Brown Jr., Brooklyn’s Dorian Finney-Smith, Washington’s Tyus Jones and Chicago’s duo of Alex Caruso and Andre Drummond — didn’t move at the deadline, a sign to Los Angeles that demands were out of control.”

If that’s the case, it makes sense why Los Angeles decided not to make a trade. Why pay more than other teams just because you’re the Lakers? Additionally, Rob Pelinka explained how there were more buyers than sellers. When the market is like that, asking prices tend to go up.

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“We tried everything we could, and again, the market is the market. There were very, very few sellers. I don’t think today on the deadline day there were many marquee players moved. There were a lot of buyers, and as everyone knows, when the market has few sellers and tons of buyers, the prices are very, very aggressive. And sometimes no move is better than an unwise move.”

That last statement is absolutely true. Sometimes the best move is to not do anything. Even so, the Lakers are a team to watch as many don’t believe they have what it takes to win a championship this season. With LeBron James on a player option this coming offseason, it’ll be interesting to see how LA builds its roster in the offseason. The front office may have to get aggressive, especially if James opts to walk away and hit free agency.


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