The Lakers made some major changes this week when they relieved both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak of their duties. Magic Johnson has taken over as president of basketball operations, but the less talked about move has been Rob Pelinka becoming the team’s next general manager.
Pelinka has a long relationship with the Lakers as he was Kobe Bryant’s longtime agent, but he had a number of other clients as well including James Harden and Andre Iguodala.
Some of his clients have already spoken very highly of Pelinka, and Iguodala also believes that he will help turn the Lakers around according to Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle:
“I think it’s good for the Lakers,” Iguodala said Wednesday. “I think he’ll turn it around and get it right with Luke.”
Pelinka is the latest agent to make the leap to an NBA front office. Most recently, the Warriors tabbed former agent Bob Myers, whom the Lakers also targeted, to be their general manager and he was named NBA Executive of the Year in 2015.
With head coach Luke Walton coming over from the Warriors, many took the Lakers hiring of Pelinka as another attempt by the Lakers to follow the Warriors’ blueprint, but Iguodala doesn’t see it that way:
“I never thought about it like that,” Iguodala said. “But Luke was a Lakers guy. Rob was a Lakers guy with the Kobe relationship. So it’s kind of like a college going back to its roots, and the Lakers are doing the same thing bringing Magic back.”
The trio of Johnson, Pelinka, and Walton have a tough task ahead of them in turning this franchise around as the Lakers are far away from being a contender.
Pelinka is an out-of-the-box hire, but all of his clients have spoken highly of him and he is known as an excellent negotiator. Hopefully this new regime can return the Lakers to their former glory.