Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka are completely in charge of the basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, but in the end everything must go through owner and president Jeanie Buss.
Buss understands her limitations as far as basketball knowledge which is why she empowers Johnson and Pelinka on the basketball side of the business. But she does want to be in the loop when major decisions are being made, which is one of issues she had with the previous regime.
The Lakers made their splash at the NBA Trade Deadline by sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In an appearance on The Full 48 with Howard Beck, Buss recalled the process of sitting down with Magic and Pelinka to be informed of the possible deal:
“They, meaning Magic and Rob Pelinka, are completely empowered to do what they think is best in delivering that product that is a roster that will play the style of basketball that Luke brings to us. When this particular trade was put on the table, they were looking at many different scenarios, many different trades. They said they wanted to sit down with me, because there was a trade that really made a lot of sense. They had gone over it and over it, and they decided it was time to bring me in and just kind of explain.”
Buss added that any questions she had about the possible trade were answered in that comprehensive meeting:
“I really appreciated the process, because not only did Magic and Rob sit down with me, they brought the analytics department. So any question that I had as we were sitting there, about, ‘Well why does that work? Why does this person fit?’ They could answer that question. It’s hard for me to ever think about trading anybody, that’s just not my favorite thing. But I also know that I want to win, and that it made sense to me in terms of what they were trying to do and how they explained it.”
The reasons for the Lakers making the deal are obvious. The trade created salary cap space for two max-level free agents and they were also able to add a 2018 first-round pick, which was a big goal for the front office.
Most importantly, however, it is clear that the entire Lakers front office is on the same page as they move forward in hopes of returning the team to its status as a premier franchise.
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