UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: The Lakers have hired Rob Pelinka as their new general manager, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Details of the agreement were not immediately available.
The Los Angeles Lakers moved quickly to address the vacant general manager position left behind after relieving Mitch Kupchak of his duties. Rob Pelinka, NBA agent who notably works with Kobe Bryant, is finalizing a multi-year deal to become the Lakers’ general manager, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
The hiring comes hours after the stunning announcement that both Kupchak and Buss were no longer running the Lakers’ basketball operations.
Pelinka was immediately linked to the Lakers upon news of Kupchak’s firing, and within hours reports indicated he had begun calling the players he represented to inform them of the sudden change in his responsibilities. Pelinka is not allowed to represent players as an agent while working with a franchise.
Pelinka joins a number of sports agents who’ve shifted to NBA front office positions in recent years, including Warriors general manager Bob Myers and Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem.
The Lakers will be adding a decision maker with extensive experience navigating NBA front offices through his long career as an agent, and that is already familiar with the Lakers’ organization due to his representation of Bryant and other Lakers over a huge portion of his career.
Pelinka’s background with trades, salary cap, various NBA front offices and personnel made him an appealing option to new President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson.
“I want a [general manager] who understands the CBA, but also understands our team and wants to be here,” Johnson said during his introductory interview with Spectrum SportsNet. “And that also knows players, knows agents, because we're going to need all of that on his resume when he comes to work here.”
This hiring checks off many of those boxes. The quick move gives the Lakers a small window of time for their new front office to consider their options heading into the Feb. 23 trade deadline.