The Los Angeles Lakers understood that the complete overhaul of the front office was necessary in order to move into this new era. Jeanie Buss brought in Magic Johnson as the visible public face of the franchise, while securing former agent Rob Pelinka as the new general manager of the Lakers.
Pelinka’s background as an agent is a recent trend going on throughout the NBA, with multiple teams looking at agents in different front office roles. Since taking the job Pelinka has been hard at work, working hand-in-hand with Magic as they head into their first offseason.
Those around the NBA understand that the Pelinka’s comprehension of all the NBA legalities is a huge advantage at his disposal. Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype spoke anonymously to four different NBA agents, discussing why Pelinka’s previous experience is a huge foundation to his potential success:
“His ability to understand and interpret the Collective Bargaining Agreement is huge. As an agent, you have to know all of the different rules, you have to understand the business, you have to be able to communicate with people – from players to families to other people around the NBA – and you have to present information well […] When you’re a GM and you’re offering the same contract as another team, you have to sell your organization, highlight your strengths and be persuasive. It’s very similar to when agents are meeting with potential clients.
In addition to his knowledge of the CBA and negotiation skills, Pelinka also has excellent relationships with a number of players in this league as he represented many of them. One GM believes those connections could help Pelinka bring a star to Los Angeles:
“I really think it’s possible. If you’re one of his former clients and you’re a free agent, who are you going to trust most? When five GMs are giving you their pitch, who do you trust the most and believe in the most? All things being equal, you’re probably going to go with the guy you’ve known for a long time and who helped you throughout your career. Could that be an advantage for him? I definitely think it could.”
Both Pelinka and Johnson are entering a turning point in franchise history, as the Lakers attempt to leave their recent underwhelming seasons in the past. The Lakers are said to active in both the trade and free agency market.
Pelinka will be plenty busy during his first official offseason as a general manager, as he hopes to accomplish the goal both he and Johnson set for the 2017-18 season.
The franchise, front office and fan base all patiently await the results of the May 16 NBA Draft Lottery, to reveal the faith of their top-three protected pick. While the Lakers have gotten off to a nice start, their entire outlook on the offseason changes drastically with that result.