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Lakers’ success earns GM Rob Pelinka a promotion

Rob Pelinka, left, chats with Lakers coach Frank Vogel during a Summer League game in Las Vegas.
Rob Pelinka, left, chats with Lakers coach Frank Vogel during a Summer League game in Las Vegas.
(Michael Reaves / Getty Images)

The Lakers have promoted general manager Rob Pelinka to vice president of basketball operations, the team announced Friday. He will remain the GM as well.

Pelinka, 50, joined the team as a first-time general manager in March 2017. People with knowledge of the promotion said Pelinka also received a contract extension.

Tim Harris, president of business operations and chief operating officer, also received a contract extension. Terms of Harris’ and Pelinka’s extensions have not been disclosed.

“I’m extremely pleased with the work Rob has done in order to put this franchise in a position for success,” said Jeanie Buss, co-owner and chief executive of the Lakers. “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.”

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Pelinka helped rebuild the Lakers through the drafting of players he later used to acquire All-Star forward Anthony Davis in a trade last summer. He also brought in key veterans to pair with Davis and fellow All-Star forward LeBron James, who signed in 2018.

“I’m so damned happy for him,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said before Friday night’s game in Dallas. “Obviously he was under fire when I took the job, a lot of it undeserved. I admire the fact that through all of that he just stuck to doing the work, committing to the work and making great decisions. He not only assembled a great roster, but he really built a whole department, when you look at hiring the medical team to a scouting staff.”

Magic Johnson, former president of basketball operations, was largely given credit for landing James. Johnson abruptly resigned before the final game last season.

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Buss, in her first interview since Johnson resigned, said then that she had confidence in Pelinka.

“I’ve always had confidence in Rob,” Buss said last June. “I’m very happy and I think we’re on the right path.”

Under the stewardship of Pelinka, Johnson and the scouting department, the Lakers drafted Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart in 2017 to join Brandon Ingram, whom they selected second overall in 2016.

Let’s start by discussing an All-Star phenomenon that’s growing in strength. That would be the fan voting for Alex Caruso.

The Lakers traded Ball, Ingram and Hart along with several draft picks to New Orleans to acquire Davis. They were able to complete the deal without giving up Kuzma, then a second-year forward who averaged 18.6 points last season.

The team re-signed point guard Rajon Rondo, guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and center JaVale McGee while bringing back center Dwight Howard on a one-year contract to form the core of their veteran-laden team that includes guards Avery Bradley and Danny Green as well as forward Jared Dudley.

Staff writers Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner contributed to this report.

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