Most of the positivity around the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night was understandably focused on the team retaining it’s top-three protected pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The Lakers found out they would pick second, and according to Lakers General Manager Rob Pelinka, it’s just the latest thing that makes people around the NBA excited about Los Angeles.
“We’ve been in New York all speaking to agents and you could feel the enthusiasm in the player community and the agent community of just the direction and the vision and where things are headed,” Pelinka told Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com.
It’s just the latest example of player agents’ optimism about the way the Lakers are trending under Pelinka, with anonymous agents last week saying the new executive would have an advantage in recruiting his former clients.
How much that matters is up for debate, because the longer Pelinka is with the Lakers, the fewer former clients he’ll have in the league. What Pelinka says about current agents being excited what they’re seeing from the Lakers, however, is important.
Improving relationships with agents around the league is just one of the things on Pelinka and Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson’s plates, but it’s a hugely important task nonetheless. Building relationships with player agents is a hugely important part of any executive’s job, and having poor relationships with them can sink an executive (shout out to Sam Hinkie).
As a former highly successful player representative himself Pelinka is surely more aware than most in just how much sway those figures have, even if it’s mostly behind the scenes power fans don’t focus on. Johnson may have already said the Lakers aren’t planning to make any major free agent additions this summer, but agents believing in the Lakers moving forward will be crucial in the summers to come.