The Los Angeles Lakers are sure making waves around the NBA world in the lead up to the trade deadline. The team announced that it has named Magic Johnson president of basketball operations while firing general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss from his role as vice president (more on that here).
It’s a major shake up for the suddenly downtrodden franchise and comes at a time when the Lakers themselves have been active in the rumor mill with the trade deadline approaching on Thursday.
Now comes this somewhat stunning report from Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding indicating that long-time Kobe Bryant agent Rob Pelinka could very well be the Lakers’ new general manager, replacing the aforementioned Mitch Kupchak.
Nothing concrete, but I'm hearing strong indications Rob Pelinka, Kobe's longtime agent, will be the Lakers' next general manager.
— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) February 21, 2017
This could very well be a representation of Los Angeles taking a page from the Golden State Warriors, who hired former agent Bob Myers as general manager years back. That played a major role in the Warriors’ turnaround from consistent cellar-dweller to championship team.
Though, it must be noted that any move to hire Pelinka would take some time. The agent has to divest from any and all of his relationships in order for this to be finalized.
For the Lakers to hire Pelinka — or any agent — he'd have to divest from his representation business. That process can't happen overnight.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 21, 2017
It’s the same process Myers himself went through with the Warriors prior to being hired as assistant general manager back in 2011.
Pelinka, the President and CEO of The Landmark Sports Agency, LLC, represented Bryant for the vast majority of his Hall of Fame-caliber career, working with the former Lakers star when he hit free agency in 2004 and spending a ton of time with his client during the sexual assault case in Colorado. He’s seen as one of Bryant’s best friends.
This will obviously lead to speculation that Bryant himself might return to the Lakers in some capacity after retiring from the NBA last season. With Magic Johnson now in charge, we surely wouldn’t put it past him.