2018 Free Agency

LeBron James' move to Los Angeles Lakers leaves front office 'grateful'

From NBA media reports

The Los Angeles Lakers’ pursuit of LeBron James in free agency this summer began years ago, as a dream in the mind of late owner Dr. Jerry Buss. His vision for the franchise has always included it being led by a player with mega-watt superstar power, something LeBron certainly qualifies as. But for years, he never seemed to have the Lakers on his radar.

All of that changed, of course, once Magic Johnson officially returned in his capacity as the face of the franchise (albeit as an team president and not in his old role — star point guard for the Showtime Lakers). And now that the deed is done and LeBon is in the fold, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times takes you on an intriguing ride into how it all came to fruition:

The next day, general manager and team president received a similar text message from Rich Paul: congratulations, along with the animation of confetti an iPhone sends with that word.

Pelinka wondered if it really meant what he thought it meant.

Earlier in the day, as Johnson optimistically recounted his meeting with James to Jeanie Buss and coach Luke Walton, Pelinka was on the phone with the star’s agent, discussing the details of a potential contract.

Now, this.

“It was shock,” Jeanie said. “Not that I wasn’t confident going into it. For it to actually happen, it was like, whoa. OK. We’re back now.”

Jeanie, Johnson and Pelinka got on a three-way phone call filled with joy, exuberance and relief.

Thinking about it later, Pelinka struggled to hold back tears.

“I grew up in a little house in Lake Bluff, Ill.,” Pelinka said, his eyes reddening. “My dad was a public school teacher.”

Pelinka had been Kobe Bryant’s agent. Then he went to work with Johnson. Now he would work with James. He sniffled and quietly said, “grateful.”

Jesse Buss was out to lunch with friends. He found out about James from a post on Twitter and dropped his phone.

Composing himself, he stood and announced, “We got him.”

One of his buddies tackled him.

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