When Magic Johnson surprisingly stepped down as Lakers president, he implicated GM Rob Pelinka for betrayal. There was an expectation around the league Pelinka would be shown the door soon after (he is not popular with other front offices, dating back to his days as an agent). However, Pelinka had backers who had owner Jeanie Buss’ ear — Linda Rambis — and Los Angeles ultimately gave Pelinka more power.
Then Pelinka nailed this past summer.
Or at least he fell into something that worked. Pelinka pulled off an Anthony Davis trade (but gave up a ransom in the process). Then, after getting a late jump on rounding out the roster (due to Kawhi Leonard taking is time) the guys the Lakers got — Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, etc. — have worked out well. So has hiring Frank Vogel as coach, even if he wasn’t the first choice. Or second. Pelinka’s Lakers are 30-7 lead the Western Conference.
With that, the Lakers have extended the contract of Pelinka and promoted him to Vice President of Basketball Operations, the team announced.
“I’m extremely pleased with the work Rob has done in order to put this franchise in a position for success, “said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss. “His strong leadership skills, as well as his commitment to building a winning culture, both on and off the court, have brought us one step closer to being a championship-caliber team and I look forward to our continued work together.”
Pelinka reportedly had two years left on this contract, now he will be around (or at least get paid) much longer than that.
While the Lakers are contenders for a title, Pelinka has work to do. They need a secondary ball handler and, next summer, to replace the veteran role players that likely take more money elsewhere.
But for now, Pelinka can celebrate a little. He’s not going anywhere.