Back in early March, the Los Angeles Lakers made one of their many changes to the Lakers front office. This move was the hiring of 47 year old Rob Pelinka, as Lakers General Manager. The ex-NBA agent should be a pretty common name for some fans of basketball, as he has in the past represented many big names, such as Kobe Bryant, James Harden, and Chris Bosh.
HoopsHype.com managed to sit down with many of the NBA’s best agents and ask them about their thoughts on Pelinka’s agent-to-GM move. (Please note all answers are paraphrased versions of the actual interview. Not quotes.)
Q: Will the fact that there is bad blood between Pelinka and his ex rival agents cause there to be issues during his negotiations?
Agents 1 & 2
Agent one said that he didn’t know what to think when he first heard about the Rob Pelinka GM move, but after his first couple months, he couldn’t be happier. He is awesome, he knows exactly what he has to do and couldn’t be more considerate of the agents. I guess it’s probably because he knows where we are all coming from and what we are all dealing with. He’s done nothing but be super professional and do an excellent job since the move. Agent two said I personally don’t have any bad blood with Rob but, as it always is when you hire big names like that, there is massive competition. I can see him, running into a lot of issues early on in his new career but it will all die down after a couple months in the job.
Yes, definitely. Of course it would be awkward with those he didn’t have a good relationship with, but he can fix that. If you’ve got people who are like ‘Nah, Rob Pelinka beat me out last time, ain’t no way I’m giving him this guy’, then Rob needs to find a way to make his relationships with these people more open and all around positive. If he himself doesn’t work on the relationships then the negotiations won’t go anywhere.
At the end of the day? It’s all what Rob wants to make of it. I think it will be hard because us, as agents, tend to paint other agents in a bad shade, and think of them as bad people. That is the kind of competitive environment we work in. If both sides need and want a negotiation to work, then I think Pelinka can do that and make it work.
Q: What skills do you think Pelinka can carry over from his agent job to his GM job?
There are a lot of similarities between the two jobs. Recruitment, making pitches and being charismatic. As an agent you are so accustomed to juggling loads of jobs and doing many things at once and I feel like that might help as well. You will use your trained eye for scouting players as well.
Well, there is a sales element to both jobs and he’s got that under his belt already. I think that after working free agency for so long, Pelinka used skills that will eventually help you in one way or another. The ability to understand the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is mightily important as well.
I think Rob is gonna do a great job because he knows the landscape of the league. But, he also knows how to recruit and talk to a player, which will always come in handy. From his past experience, he’ll know what it means when a certain player signs with a certain agent, and why the player has switched agents.
Rob is extremely knowing of his fields of work. He knows how and when to take advantage of an inexperienced agent, but he also knows about how to negotiate and deal with salary cap issues. Will these help him? I don’t know. I hope so though.
Q: Do you think he [Rob Pelinka] will be able to attract some of his former clients to Los Angeles?
Absolutely! If you’re a free agent and you’re sitting down with five GM’s, who are you gonna trust more? The ex-NBA agent obviously because he knows where the agent is coming from, and they can work together and get along easier.
Q: Do you think we’ll continue to see the agent-to-executive move?
There are two kinds of people in the agent field. Old school basketballers, and new school CBA understanding people. I feel that the CBA people will generate a lot of attention from teams looking for executives.
I think this will definitely happen more often now. And I think it should. I’ve been saying for years that agents would make good executives, as we know the CBA and we have great communication skills. We know players and other agents, and therefore, should be a strong candidate for the job.
The NBA is a league where all the teams will copy one another, meaning if this move goes well, all the other teams will follow suit. As agents, these guys know what they’re doing, and therefor, we should see more agents move to the GM position in the future.