When Rob Pelinka was officially named the Los Angeles Lakers general manager last March, he was immediately tasked with lifting the franchise from its lengthy rebuilding process into a new era of winning basketball.
Pelinka supplanted former general manager Mitch Kupchak and teammed up with Hall-of-Famer Magic Johnson in the front office, who was named president of basketball operations in the wake of a massive organizational and front office shakeup.
Nearly one year later, the Lakers have seen progress with a young core that features the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Despite what the standings indicate, Los Angeles has displayed more competitiveness on the court this season, while vastly improving their defense.
During an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet’s “Connected With…”, Pelinka revealed how he and Johnson work together, citing multiple conversations that take place on any given day:
“It usually starts at five in the morning when my phone rings, and it’s always Magic. Magic is an early workout person and he gets inspired. He tells legendary stories about going jogging sometimes when it’s still dark and the stars are out, and that’s when he gets his inspiration on the future of the Lakers and what we should do as a front office. So, literally, my day with him often starts at five in the morning, which I don’t mind.
“A lot of people say, ‘How many times do you and Magic talk throughout a day?’ It’s kind of nonstop. Obviously, if he’s in the office, we’re meeting with one another, going over things. And then if one of us is traveling, we probably talk on the phone at least five times a day. Obviously, if we’re together at the game, we’re usually watching it sometimes in the tunnel. But if it’s an away game and we’re not there, he’s calling at halftime, he’s calling after the game, we’re breaking everything down. So very engaged in our partnership and a lot of fun.”
Given their constant communication, Pelinka and Johnson clearly have a strong partnership that can only lead to good things for the Lakers going forward.
The pair has worked tirelessly to return the team back to prominence, placing an emphasis on clearing enough salary for the potential to sign two-max superstars this summer when DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George and LeBron James, among others, become free agents.
First on the agenda is the Feb. 8 trade deadline, which Pelinka indicated the Lakers will only make a move by if it means improving the likelihood of again winning an NBA title.
He also tapped into other topics during the interview, including head coach Luke Walton’s standing with the organization. Pelinka reaffirmed his support for Walton after previous reports surfaced that the Lakers may look to replace him with former Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale.
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