MIAMI (AP) — Dion Waiters was initially in disbelief when he started hearing that his agent Rob Pelinka was about to take over as general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers.
And then Pelinka called with the word.
“I didn’t believe anything,” Waiters said Thursday at Miami Heat practice, “until I heard it from him.”
The Lakers have not announced the hiring of Pelinka, whose shift from agent to front-office is part of a huge shake-up headlined by Magic Johnson taking over the team’s basketball operations. But Pelinka has told his clients that he’s moving on.
Waiters said that he’ll remain with Pelinka’s Landmark Sports Agency for the foreseeable future, and represented by agent Brandon Rosenthal. Pelinka was Kobe Bryant’s longtime agent, an obvious Lakers tie. Some of his other NBA clients include Chris Bosh, James Harden and Eric Gordon.
Waiters said Pelinka going to the Lakers in such a capacity was “a dream come true.”
“He took a big-time job that you really can’t turn down,” Waiters said.
This coming summer is likely going to be busy for Waiters, who is playing for $2.9 million this season and will almost certainly be in line for a significant raise going forward. The thought of not having Pelinka involved in negotiating his next deal could be a distraction, but Waiters said he’s choosing instead to focus solely on helping the Heat playoff push.
He said he totally understood why Pelinka had to take this chance.
“That’s how the world works, man. You come in one day, you might get offered something he got offered,” Waiters said. “So you just never know. I’m pretty sure he was shocked. He told me he was shocked himself. Like I said, you can’t turn down something like that that’s so important to you. He probably didn’t have expectations of being that, but being in the position of being a GM for the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s probably a dream.”
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