Magic Johnson: Pelinka Did Better Than Any GM This Offseason

Magic Johnson has high praise for Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, called Pelinka the “No. 1 GM in the NBA this offseason,” he told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times in a wide-ranging interview.

Johnson was impressed with Pelinka’s trade deadline acquisitions, which propelled the Lakers into the playoffs and all the way to the conference finals. This offseason, Pelinka has re-signed Austin Reaves, Rui Hachimura and D’Angelo Russell, and added Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish and Jaxson Hayes.

“I think he followed it up with another outstanding job, first from the trade deadline and then he kept it going in the summer,” the Hall of Famer and former Lakers executive said. “He did better than anybody in the summer. All the moves he made, he was the No. 1 GM in the NBA this offseason. No question about it. All the guys that we signed will help (LeBron James) and the other guys because now we are deeper. Rob is going to be executive of the year.”

Johnson sees the Lakers as a serious contender for the title.

“This is a Western Conference championship team. We could actually win everything if we can stay healthy,” he said. “This team has a real shot. … It’s not going to be easy for Denver to repeat, even though you always got to pick the champion as the favorite right now, and I do. But the Lakers, Memphis with the trades they made, Phoenix and Golden State, and Sacramento and Denver, man, the West is going to be hard.”

Johnson is part of the ownership group that purchased the Washington Commanders of the NFL. Johnson said he has ties to Washington, D.C. than many people don’t realize.

“I’ve done business there in Washington, D.C.,” Johnson said. “And I told this story — and people forget this — I was the last person [former Lakers owner] Jack Kent Cooke signed and he had to sign me so that he could then sell the team to Dr. Buss [in 1979]. So, when Dr. Buss wrote him that check, he needed that check to buy the Washington Redskins. It’s that crazy. People don’t know that. That [$67.5 million] went a long way. So, I guess it’s destiny that I’m supposed to be a part of this because I’ve done so much in the city.”

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