When Magic Johnson suddenly stepped down as the Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations, things quickly switched over to who would replace him.
The likes of Golden State Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers and Miami Heat president Pat Riley were rumored as potential replacements, but general manager Rob Pelinka has been in charge in the meantime.
Throughout the team’s head coaching search, it was Pelinka who led the way with former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue looking set to take the job. Now that this looks to be the case, the attention has turned back to whether or not the Lakers will replace Johnson and for the time being, it looks like the answer is no.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently spoke on the subject, saying the head coaching candidates were informed Pelinka will be running basketball operations and no one would be brought in above him:
“Ultimately, it’s Jeanie Buss the owner. But Rob Pelinka the general manager is running basketball operations. The candidates in this search have been told Rob Pelinka will be your boss. He’s going to be running the team. We’re not bringing in somebody over him.”
This is a very interesting approach the Lakers are taking and time will tell if it turns out to be the right one. Pelinka has gone from an agent to the head of the Lakers front office in a short amount of time, but he clearly has the trust of owner Jeanie Buss.
The Lakers could have chosen to hire an outsider as Johnson’s replacement, but they seemingly have chosen to stick within the family. There have been positive and negative reports about Pelinka so far, but in the end, all that will matter is if he can build the Lakers into a championship contender.
If that happens, the organization and fan base won’t care about anything else.