The Lakers shook up their front office today in a shocking move that saw general manager Mitch Kupchak fired and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss relieved of his duties. Magic Johnson was promoted from advisor to Jeanie Buss to President of Basketball Operations, where he now is in full control of the franchise’s basketball decisions.
The most surprising part of the move wasn’t that Kupchak and Jim Buss were ousted, it was the timing of the move, which came two days prior to the NBA trade deadline on Thursday. Any discussions or moves being discussed by Kupchak were now reset back to zero and there wasn’t a general manager in place, although assistant GM Ryan West, Jerry West’s son, was not among those let go and many figured he’d play a prominent role over the next two days.
That void won’t be there long, as the Lakers have moved quickly to get Rob Pelinka, who is an agent that represents Kobe Bryant and a number of NBA stars, in as general manager, according to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who is also one of Pelinka’s clients.
Gordon was referencing himself, Trevor Ariza and James Harden, three Rockets teammates who all were represented by Pelinka. Other notable Pelinka clients include Chris Bosh, Avery Bradley, Andre Iguodala, Dante Exum and Dion Waiters. Pelinka knows the ins and outs of NBA negotiations and has done so from the agent side of things, so it’s an intriguing move by the Lakers to call in a guy that has, for so long, negotiated on the opposite side of the table.
Johnson says he has final say on things, but bringing in Pelinka isn’t a matter of bringing in a Johnson puppet. Pelinka will have strong ideas on what the Lakers need and what will constitute a good deal, both in trades and in free agency, so, for Lakers fans concerned about Johnson making horrible deals, this may settle their nerves a bit.