After over a month of uncertainty on if the Los Angeles Lakers would replace Magic Johnson or not, reports indicate that the Lakers intend to move forward with Rob Pelinka calling the shots. While previously Pelinka reported to Magic, he now answers only to team owner, Jeanie Buss.
Lakers Decide Not To Replace Magic Johnson, Stick With Rob Pelinka
While rumored to be the Lakers plan for some time, Shelburne’s announcement marks the most concrete information, one way or the other, Laker fans have had on the matter since Magic abruptly left.
The move is seemingly a big gamble on Laker owner Jeanie Buss’ behalf as Pelinka’s only front office experience was working under Magic as the GM during last year’s dumpster fire. Pelinka previously served as, most notably, Kobe Bryant‘s agent and as we all know, Kobe’s voice is highly valued by Jeanie Buss and the Lakers.
While Pelinka is partially responsible for the Lakers biggest free agent signing in decades, he also shoulders much of the blame for the way Anthony Davis trade talks were handled during the season. By choosing to handle the trade in such a public manner, the Lakers not only burned the Pelicans but hamstrung their own young talent by publicly dangling them as trade bait.
What Does This Mean for the Lakers?
It means that probably not too much is going to change overall from last year’s approach. While Magic was the public face of the front office, rumors all season indicated that Pelinka was the one with Jeanie Buss’ ear. His backing from Kobe certainly helped and the fact that Pelinka had so much pull might have been a deciding factor in Magic stepping down so suddenly.
Expect Pelinka to go out and try to land another big fish. If that doesn’t work, the most likely scenario is that he puts together another patchwork roster that has some glaring deficiencies. Don’t be surprised to see the Lakers continue their hot pursuit of Anthony Davis and keep their end of trade talks oddly public.
There does remain an off chance that Magic was the root of all the Lakers’ front office trouble and Pelinka is able to turn around the ship. That said, the more likely scenario is the fact that both understand the game of basketball but just simply didn’t have the necessary front office experience to build a cohesive and competitive (longterm) roster.