Rob Pelinka vows to make the Lakers the ‘greatest sports franchise in the world’ – Los Angeles Times

As he embarked on a new chapter in his life, one aimed at reversing the fortunes of a proud Lakers franchise, new General Manager Rob Pelinka thought back a decade to another time he had a hand in changing its fate.

It was May 2007. The Lakers were amid a rebuilding project much less stark than what they are trying now. They had just lost in the first round of the playoffs. Kobe Bryant, Pelinka’s client, wanted change. So he told Stephen A. Smith, then of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that he wanted the Lakers to trade him.

“What happened after that call to action, I’ll never forget,” Pelinka said. “Dr. [Jerry] Buss called us up to his house, like only he could, and welcomed us into his home. I’m sure Earvin [Magic Johnson] has experienced this time and time and time again. We sat around the table and everyone shared their vision and what needed to change. There was collaboration. There was listening. There was thought exchange. It was powerful.”

About seven months later, the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol. They were back in the Finals that season, and won back-to-back championships the next two. Bryant, of course, never left the franchise, finishing his 20-year career right where he first began playing. On Friday, he sat in the front row as Pelinka told that story.

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