Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism of late. Some fans have been quick to blame the high-ranking executive for the Lakers’ early-season woes. In their minds, Pelinka’s refusal (or inability) to pull the trigger on a significant trade deal is the main reason behind LA’s problems.

At least one unnamed Western Conference executive believes, however, that Pelinka is looking at the bigger picture. On a recent episode of The Crossover NBA Show with Chris Mannix and Howard Beck, the two NBA insiders discussed Pelinka’s seemingly baffling stance against green-lighting a trade for the Lakers. Apparently, this could have a lot to do with Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal:

”So here was the quote from the Western Conference executive I spoke to who had mentioned this,” Beck said. “He says ‘Washington is the one that I keep thinking that’s going to happen. … [Bradley Beal] got a no-trade clause, he wants to come to California’ — That was an interesting tidbit of this — ‘He essentially can pick where he wants to go (because of his no-trade clause)’ … So that’s the logic that the Western Conference exec was laying out to me, and he said this: ‘Whatever you want to say about Pelinka, he’s being smart, he’s taking his time.’”

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If you look at it from this perspective, then it seems that Pelinka is playing the long game. Beal has long been associated as a trade target for the Lakers, and a move for the three-time All-Star has the potential to be a game-changer for LA. The fact that he reportedly wants to come to California makes this prospect a lot more interesting.

The big question now is whether or not the Lakers have enough assets to make this deal come to fruition. Will two first-round picks and Russell Westbrook be enough for Washington? If not, then Pelinka will potentially need to engage in more minor moves in order to carry out his big-picture plan.