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Lakers officially hire Rob Pelinka as general manager

Los Angeles’ front office overhaul is complete.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional-Oklahoma vs Oregon Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The worst kept “secret” in Los Angeles was finally made official Tuesday when the Los Angeles Lakers announced Rob Pelinka would serve as the team’s new general manager. Kobe Bryant’s former agent has been rumored for the position since hours after the Lakers fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss and named Magic Johnson as the team’s new president of basketball operations.

“I am beyond grateful to join the Lakers front office,” Pelinka said in a statement issued to the media. “The Lakers are a gold standard for sports franchises in the world, so we all share a responsibility to pursue excellence in everything we do. Excellence is what the Lakers stands for, what Jeanie Buss and Earvin Johnson embody, and what Coach Walton demands from our players. That obsession for greatness is what will bring Lakers basketball back to a championship level. With Jeanie and Magic guiding the vision, I am thrilled to help architect the future. I am really excited to get to work.”

Johnson and Lakers president Jeanie Buss also shared their thoughts on the hire.

“We have worked closely with Rob for many years and have first-hand experience with his knowledge of the league and the business of basketball,” Buss said in the statement. “In our recent discussions, it was clear that he also shares our goal of returning the Lakers to being an elite NBA franchise. Together with Earvin and Coach Walton, I believe we are in a great position to bring winning basketball back to the Lakers.”

“Rob’s knowledge of the NBA landscape and the CBA, as well as his relationships with GMs around the league, are invaluable,” added Johnson in the statement. “After running a successful sports agency and as someone who truly understands the inner workings of salary caps and player negotiations, he will bring the additional skills and experience needed in the Lakers executive office. Rob is a winner and the Lakers are fortunate to have him.”

The delay on announcing Pelinka was so that he could divest himself of his numerous NBA clients in his former job as an agent, for which he was named as one of the Top 10 Sports Agents in the World by Forbes Magazine. He will hold his introductory press conference Friday, March 10 at 1 p.m.

Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.

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