The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Friday that general manager Rob Pelinka has been promoted to the new title of Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne, the promotion includes a contract extension.
Pelinka was hired in 2017 to be the right-hand man of the recently hired Magic Johnson. After Johnson abruptly resigned at the conclusion of last season, Pelinka took over for him but his title did not change until now.
The promotion likely does not mean anything in the scope of Pelinka’s job. However, the new title may open up a future position for a general manager or assistant general manager in the front office. NBA teams often restructure positions in order to hire more talent in their management positions.
Pelinka’s tenure in Los Angeles has been a rollercoaster in the short time he has been there. He has been accused of back-stabbing by Johnson and there have been reports of suspect behavior in his treatment of players and employees. Pelinka was also partially responsible for the poor job that the team did in surrounding LeBron James in his first season with the Lakers, leading to a disastrous finish and just the second time in the Hall of Famer’s career in which he did not reach the postseason.
Nevertheless, Pelinka has been the face of the Lakers’ revitalization this season, finalizing the trade for Anthony Davis and doing an admirable job in finding role players to complement the Lakers’ two stars even after spending much of free agency waiting on Kawhi Leonard’s decision. It remains to be seen how Pelinka can manage the fringes of his championship contender at the trade deadline and in the buyout market.
Pelinka’s original contract signed with the Lakers in 2017 was reportedly for five years. The terms and years of his new extension have yet to be reported.