The Los Angeles Lakers have moved forward and are investing in the future, with the front office steadily progressing towards the 2017 offseason. While an entire city awaits the destiny of their draft pick, the front office combination of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have to attack all possible angles of NBA free agency.
Pelinka’s status as a former NBA agent certainly provides different aspects and discussions with free agents, as he has the upper hand on the demands and wants of current NBA players. With a strong grasp of the collective bargaining agreement, both he and Johnson have advantageous takes that players will welcome.
However, Pelinka’s previous job can also bring up crossroads for current NBA agents. Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype conducted anonymous interviews with four different NBA agents, asking them about the advantages and disadvantages Pelinka could face. When asked if there could be bad blood with certain agents, one agent stated that it’ll die over quick:
Agent No. 1: “Initially, I thought it was going to be awkward. When they announced that Rob was getting the Lakers’ job, I didn’t know what to think. I had never talked to him – not because there was any bad blood between us, but just because we never had a reason to connect. But ever since the first time that we talked since he took the job, I could not be more of a fan of ‘GM Rob Pelinka.’ He’s amazing. And he’s so considerate because he kind of understands where we’re coming from as agents. He knows our side of the business, and I think actually gives him a leg up in terms of dealing with all of us. He’s been nothing but professional and has done an excellent job with the transition into his new role.
There are plenty of advantages when it comes to Pelinka’s experience as an NBA agent, from his grasp of the collective bargaining agreement to understanding what free agents want in a contract. However, Pelinka’s field was rather crowded, with some agents holding grudges over past experiences.
This could put a damper on the Lakers outlook with certain players out there, but it is up to Pelinka and that agent to move on and do what is best for the player. One agent discussed some of the possible scenarios Pelinka could come across, which can improve relationships with situations that seem fit:
Agent No. 3: “That’s a great question and the answer is yes: the bad blood may affect him early on. But at the end of the day, he can make right with those guys by doing other things. He may have to do some things for those guys he beat out or the guys he didn’t have a positive relationship with. Some guys may be like, ‘I’m not sending my guy to the Lakers and Rob Pelinka; f*** him.’ But there are things he can do to fix those things. If he says, ‘Hey, I’ll give the guy you’re trying to get exposure a spot on our Summer League team.” Or if he buys out a veteran who’s unhappy and gives him a chance to land in a good situation. Those are things a GM can do to help an agent and improve the relationship. He knows all about those things from being on the other end of those transactions. If he wants to repair the relationships, he knows what to do.”
With Jeanie Buss mandating the Lakers to get back to their winning ways, the front office of the Lakers will look to make a splash. The Lakers have been recently linked to Paul George and Kyle Lowry, just scratching the surface on many potential targets this offseason.
At the end of the day, the Lakers face scrutiny ahead, learning the status of their top-three protected pick in a few days. While the 2017 NBA Draft Lottery will set the stage for the offseason, Pelinka and Johnson still have some work to do.