Rob Pelinka Rumors

If there is some good to come out of the rotator cuff injury that sidelined Kobe Bryant for the remainder of the season, it is that the Lakers could lose a whole lot of games the rest of the way and finally be in position to draft a Kobe guy—this time, Arizona’s Stanley Johnson. Several times in recent years, Bryant has formed a connection with a top prospect in the upcoming draft, with an introduction and the possibility of workouts and friendship. Those players wind up signing with Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka. Such was the case with Dante Exum last year, Derrick Williams in 2011 and James Harden in 2009. But the Lakers could, finally, wind up with a Kobe draftee. According to league sources, Pelinka is in position to sign the fast-rising Johnson, should Johnson do the inevitable and leave school early. As Arizona has pushed its way up the rankings—they’re 18-2 and currently No. 6—Johnson’s stock has soared.
While the Lakers (27-55) played their season finale, Kobe Bryant was already beginning his off-season, leaving for France either Tuesday or early Wednesday with family members, The Times learned. A team spokesman said he was unaware of the situation and referred a reporter to Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, who could not be reached for comment. Bryant later sent a tweet from overseas, saying how bad this season was: “Flush it. Forget it #amnesia Next Season will be epic.” He added hashtags with the word “blackout,” a reference to his famously difficult workouts, and “bussfam,” a supportive nod, if not nudge, to the Buss family.
There are what-ifs that appear to be in play that involve D’Antoni returning, specifically the notion that the Lakers might need a coach who’s known as the “point guard whisperer” if they land 18-year-old Australian point guard Dante Exum in the June draft and need D’Antoni’s help in speeding up his learning curve. Exum, who signed with Kobe Bryant’s agent, Rob Pelinka, and seems to have the Black Mamba’s strong backing, has only increased speculation that he’s targeting the Lakers as his hoped-for team by becoming a regular at home games this season.
This past week, Landmark Sports Agency and its agents Rob Pelinka and Brandon Rosenthal signed Australian native Dante Exum. Landmark Sports currently represents some of the biggest stars in the NBA, including James Harden, Kobe Bryant, Andre Drummond, and Andre Iguodola. Describing the reason for choosing Landmark Sports, Exum’s family explained, “[t]he Landmark Team represented our style and manner of treating people, and in doing business[]. We also all shared a common commitment to achieving excellence in all things. The fit is just great and we are really pleased to now begin the work.” Pelinka further acknowledged the international branding power of Exum, stating, “[a]s the NBA continues to expand its brand around the world, we feel like Dante’s international story comes at a perfect time. We also believe that, with continued hard work and focus, Dante is destined to be a ‘franchise’ point guard in this next generation of great NBA players.”
The point guard has signed with Bryant’s manager Rob Pelinka, who has told the 18-year-old that Bryant is willing to give him advice on how to handle the leap. The Lakers, in the midst of a disappointing season, have already contacted Australia basketball great Luc Longley to discuss Exum, who led Canberra’s Lake Ginninderra College to last year’s national schoolboys title. ”A reason why I signed with the agent I’m with is he has Kobe Bryant, and he’s been through this when he came into the NBA,” Exum said.
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Some around the league point to Durant’s decision to part with Landmark Sport’s Rob Pelinka as his agent to sign with rap mogul Jay Z’s RocNation Sports last summer as a big red flag. However, sources close to the situation say that Durant’s decision was not about Oklahoma City, but about building his off-the-court brand outside of the traditional sports marketing world.
“We are excited to be working with Landmark Sports,” Cecil, Desiree and Dante Exum said in a statement to ESPN. “Our family felt The Landmark Team represented our style and manner of treating people, and in doing businesses. We also all shared a common commitment to achieving excellence in all things. The fit is just great and we are really pleased to now begin the work.” Exum and his family met eight different agents in Melbourne over the past month and narrowed their decision to Pelinka on Tuesday morning.
Billy Hunter, the ousted former executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has identified Kobe Bryant and his agent, Rob Pelinka, as the power brokers who pushed him to accept a 50-50 labor deal that Hunter claims was negotiated behind his back during the 2011 lockout. In a 21-page court filing this week in Hunter’s lawsuit against the NBPA, its former president, Derek Fisher, and his business manager, Jamie Wior, Hunter laid out the case for how he believes he was sandbagged by Fisher during the labor talks. Hunter is alleging defamation and breach of contract in the lawsuit, and Fisher’s alleged role in a so-called secret deal with the owners to end the lockout would be relevant if Fisher usurped Hunter’s authority as the sole bargaining agent for the players under the NBPA’s by-laws.
While the fate of James and Anthony will be among the larger NBA story lines of the season since both can opt out of their contracts, Bryant’s future also will emerge as a major issue. Bryant is making $30 million in the final year of his deal and of course could re-sign with the Lakers for an increase under the collective bargaining agreement rules. “I would suspect that at some point this season, we’ll sit down, whether it be Kobe and I, or Kobe and his representative, Rob Pelinka, and talk about the future,” Kupchak said. “But Kobe has made it clear that he intends to retire in a Laker uniform, and I know as an organization we feel the same way. I think it makes sense for him and for us to get him back on the court, and get a feel or a gauge of how much longer he wants to play and at what level.”