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Lakers extend GM Rob Pelinka through 2026: report

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka has received a contract extension through the 2025-26 season.

A person familiar with the deal confirmed Pelinka’s extension to The Associated Press on Saturday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Lakers haven’t publicly announced the long-term deal to keep Pelinka, who built a roster that won a championship two years ago.

Pelinka has been in the Lakers’ front office since 2017 after a long career as an NBA player agent, most prominently as Kobe Bryant’s longtime representative. Pelinka built their current roster around LeBron James, who chose to sign with the Lakers in 2018, by swinging the high-profile trades that brought Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook to LA.

James and Davis led the Lakers to the franchise’s 17th championship in the Florida bubble in October 2020, but they’ve been through two straight disappointing seasons since. After Los Angeles lost in the first round of the playoffs in 2021, the Lakers went 33-49 last season and missed the postseason entirely with James and Davis missing long stretches of their second straight seasons due to injury.

Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers introduces Darvin Ham as new head coach during a press conference in El Segundo, California on June 6, 2022 at the UCLA Health Training Center. 

Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers introduces Darvin Ham as new head coach during a press conference in El Segundo, California on June 6, 2022 at the UCLA Health Training Center. 
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Despite their recent struggles, Jeanie Buss has remained firmly behind Pelinka, whose close association with Bryant is attractive to the owner and her tradition-bound franchise. Pelinka now has a contract extension with the same length as the deal he gave to first-time head coach Darvin Ham, who replaced championship-winning coach Frank Vogel this summer.

General Manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on before the game against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the NBA Finals on October 6, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

General Manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on before the game against the Miami Heat during Game Four of the NBA Finals on October 6, 2020 at The AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
(Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Pelinka was a bench player at Michigan during the Fab Five era before embarking on a long, successful career as an agent. The Lakers hired him as their general manager in 2017 with no prior experience in a team’s front office.

General manager Rob Pelinka, Russell Westbrook #0 and head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a picture during a press conference at Staples Center on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

General manager Rob Pelinka, Russell Westbrook #0 and head coach Frank Vogel of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a picture during a press conference at Staples Center on August 10, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.
(Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

He worked for executive vice president Magic Johnson for two years until Johnson abruptly quit in April 2019, later accusing Pelinka of working against him inside the organization. Buss promoted Pelinka to vice president of basketball operations in 2020.

Yahoo Sports first reported Pelinka’s contract extension.

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