Without a president of basketball operations and head coach, the Los Angeles Lakers were expected to hire Magic Johnson’s replacement first.
By hiring a new president of basketball operations before a head coach, it would have allowed him/her to make decisions on general manager Rob Pelinka’s future and Luke Walton’s replacement.
However, led by Pelinka, the Lakers are conducting their coaching search and there have been concerns regarding his role moving forward.
As owner Jeanie Buss reportedly has ‘no plans’ to hire a new president of basketball operations, it appears Pelinka will be given more responsibilities, according to Sam Amick and Bill Oram of The Athletic:
Yet while rumblings remain that Buss might replace Johnson with an elite front office executive at some point, and with so much pressure from local and national media to conduct a comprehensive search for a new president of basketball operations who isn’t required to have deep Lakers ties, a source with knowledge of Jeanie’s plan insists that this front office is Pelinka’s to run. At least for now.
While Pelinka is actually going through a hiring process, there have been conflicting reports about his reputation around the league. If these reports are in fact true, it could impact their ability to sign free agents or make trades.
With a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and $38 million in cap space for free agency, the Lakers still have an opportunity to significantly improve the roster. If Buss ultimately sticks with this plan, it will become very apparent early on if it truly works or not.