|Height:||in centimeters - N/A|
|Weight:||in kg - N/A|
Pelinka is the son of Robert Todd Pelinka, Sr., a former high school basketball coach who taught him the fundamentals of basketball. He became a high school All-American basketball player at Lake Forest High School. Regarded as one of the best shooters in the Chicago area, the 6 ft 3.5 in (1.92 m) junior led Lake Forest to their first conference championship as an all-conference guard. However, the team lost in the first round of postseason play in 1987. Pelinka also played in the Chicago pro-amateur leagues where he played against local stars such as Mark Aguirre, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Duckworth and Kendall Gill.
During his redshirt sophomore season, he was not called on to take many important shots. He did have an opportunity to take a 20-foot shot with five seconds left in what turned out to be a 76–74 loss to Texas on December 29, 1990, but he missed the shot. In this game, he played a season-high twenty-eight minutes in his only start of the season and first of his collegiate career. Pelinka was also instrumental in setting up some key shots such as a pass to Calip during a frenetic sequence to tie Minnesota in the waning minutes of the game. The team finished with at 14–15 overall (7–11 Big Ten) record after losing to Colorado in the first round of the NIT.
During his redshirt junior year, he was joined at Michigan by the Fab Five, who were all true freshmen. He was injured for part of the season. When he was healthy, he was an important reserve player. After sitting out the first half, he scored the overtime opening three-point shot and made three of four overtime free throws in an 89–79 road victory against Michigan State at the Breslin Center on January 29, 1992. Pelinka had also contributed an earlier three-point shot as Michigan erased a thirteen-point deficit to force the overtime. Pelinka also contributed his season-high nineteen minutes and a second-half career-high eleven points (eclipsed in his senior season) in a March 11, 1992 70–61 victory against Purdue at the Mackey Arena. Michigan head coach Steve Fisher credited both of these wins to Pelinka and also noted his two important three-point shots against East Tennessee State. The team lost in the final game of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. After the season, he went with the team on a 9-game 16-day European trip. According to press accounts, the team was homesick during the trip and Pelinka got sick from drinking tap water.
The following season, Michigan returned its top nine scorers and began the season ranked number one in the Associated Press national ranking as Pelinka was part of a quartet of seniors backing up the Fab Five, who had become sophomores. As a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 200-pound (91 kg) fifth-year senior, Pelinka started back-to-back games twice during the season. Early in the season, he started in place of the injured Jackson, but Pelinka came down with the flu after two starts against Kansas and Eastern Michigan on December 30, 1992 and January 2, 1993 respectively. During his other set of back-to-back starts against Ohio State and Iowa on January 26 and 31, 1993, Pelinka started even though Jackson played. Pelinka set several season and career highs, including points (16), in the 72–62 home victory over Ohio State. The sixteen points included six free throws that were among the nine consecutive Michigan made in the final 2:13.
Pelinka entered the Bachelor of Business Administration program at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business where he accumulated a 3.9/4.0 grade point average. During his time at Michigan, he developed a close relationship with University of Michigan tax law professor Doug Kahn and his wife. In January 1993, Pelinka announced he was accepted to the University of Michigan Law School and the Northwestern University School of Law and stated that he hoped to become a professional sports agent after his athletic and academic careers were complete. After Michigan won the 1993 NCAA West Regional Final, Pelinka, who was one of six finalists, flew to St. Louis, Missouri for a final interview for the Walter Byers Scholarship. Later that week, Pelinka was honored with the 1993 Walter Byers Scholar Award as the NCAA's top male scholar athlete. Pelinka earned a variety of other scholar athlete awards.
Instead of playing basketball in Europe, Pelinka chose to attend Michigan Law School after graduation and became a top law student. During his first year of law school, several of his former teammates appeared in Blue Chips: Billy Douglas (Lake Forest), Eric Anderson (Chicago All-star), and Demitrius Calip (Michigan). While in law school, he took several classes from Kahn. During his second year in law school, he became the home game color analyst for Wolverines basketball play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky on a 16-station broadcast network that originated from WJR-AM, and he debuted on December 22, 1994 during a game against Jackson State University. While in law school, he interned for Winston & Strawn LLP. Pelinka earned his Juris Doctor cum laude in 1996.
After passing the Illinois bar examination and receiving his license to practice in 1996, Pelinka joined Mayer Brown. After two years at Mayer Brown, Arn Tellem convinced Pelinka to become a lawyer for SFX management, and after two years at SFX, he became an agent. While with SFX, he worked with Tellem who represented Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown, Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, all of whom went directly from high school to the National Basketball Association. Pelinka had become Bryant's agent by the time of the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case. While at SFX, he also became the agent for several of his current clients. While at SFX in 2004, he was living in Santa Monica, California and dating a pediatrician. NBA agents earn about 4% of the salary and bonus that they negotiate for their clients.
Pelinka is well known as the agent of Kobe Bryant, who retired at the end of the 2015–16 season after 20 seasons as a perennial All-Star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, some of his other clients have hired him because of this. During the 2003 sexual assault case against Bryant, Pelinka spent a considerable amount of time with his client. He accompanied him on trips to Eagle, Colorado. It was Pelinka who confirmed the news of Bryant's second child. In 2004, when Bryant was a free agent, Pelinka confirmed Bryant would remain in Los Angeles with either the Lakers or the Los Angeles Clippers while rumors were flying that he was going to sign with the Chicago Bulls. Subsequently, when Rudy Tomjanovich was hired to be the Lakers' head coach, he sent free agent Bryant and Pelinka a video package describing the things he has done for players at Bryant's position. A few days later, Pelinka negotiated a contract for Bryant to remain with the Lakers for $136.4 million over seven years. When Bryant demanded to be traded during the 2007 offseason, Pelinka confirmed that "Kobe would like to be moved." He was also the god father of Kobe's daughter, Gianna Bryant.
The Philadelphia 76ers made Iguodala a qualifying offer of $3,800,625 for the 2008–09 season. This gave the 76ers the right to match any superior offer sheet signed by Iguodala and gave Iguodala the option to play under the terms of the qualifying offer for one season in order to be an unrestricted free agent afterwards. In 2007, Iguodala rejected a $57 million contract extension. Iguodala has a 2008–09 cap hold of $11,401,875. On August 12, the 76ers and Iguodala agreed to a six-year $80 million contract.
Eric Gordon was drafted seventh overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. Sasha Vujačić, a 2008 restricted free agent, left his agent, Bill Duffy, and hired Pelinka to be his new agent in July 2008. He had previously left Pelinka for Duffy. Maggette signed on July 10 with the Golden State Warriors for $50 million over five years. On July 21, Dooling was traded to the New Jersey Nets from the Orlando Magic in what was described as a sign and trade deal with no terms of the signing revealed. Dooling's 2008–09 cap hold (salary cap allocation) with the Magic was $7,192,000. On July 25, Vujačić, who had rejected a 3-year $12 million offer after receiving a qualifying offer of $2.6 million and had planned to accept an offer to play in Europe, signed a 3-year $15 million offer to return to the Lakers. However, after signing, some sources listed Vujačić as unaffiliated with any sports agent.
At the 2009 NBA draft, he represented third overall selection James Harden. Having represented Wright at the 2007 NBA Draft and Gordon at the 2008 draft, this marked the third consecutive year that Pelinka represented a high first round client. Harden signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but terms were not disclosed. For the 2009–10 NBA season, Wright's contract is at a team option of $2,000,040, Bryant and Boozer have player's options of $23,034,375 and $12,323,900 respectively and Frye's qualifying offer amount was $4,264,760. Prior to the June 30 decision deadline, Bryant elected not to opt out of his contract and was expected to sign a new three-year extension. Also prior to the deadline, Boozer decided to exercise the final year of his contract with the Jazz. The New Orleans Hornets exercised their team option on Wright. The Portland Trail Blazers decided not to make Frye a qualifying offer, which made him an unrestricted free agent, and prevented the Blazers from having the right to match the two-year offer he agreed to with the Phoenix Suns.
Among the players he has formerly represented are DeShawn Stevenson and Fred Hoiberg. A Los Angeles resident who was raised in Illinois, Pelinka represents two players who, like him, played high school basketball in the Chicago area (Corey Maggette and Julian Wright) and a third who had been a high school star in Springfield, Illinois (Iguodala). He has represented several Arizona Wildcats players including Andre Iguodala and Channing Frye. Pelinka is regarded as one of the world's leading sports agents according to Business Insider, who ranked him 5th in 2010.
Toward the end of the 2009–10 NBA season Pelinka negotiated a three-year extension for Bryant, committing him to the Lakers through the 2013–14 season. Boozer becomes an unrestricted free agent when the 2009–10 season ends. Fisher is also unsigned. Pelinka has signed both Johnson and Davis who were chosen 4th and 13th respectively in the 2010 NBA Draft. On July 14, the Lakers announced that they resigned Fisher to what was reported to be a 3-year $10.5 million contract according to ESPN. NBA.com reported that Boozer signed a 5-year $75 million contract with the Chicago Bulls.
In April 2013, Pelinka was inducted into his high school's wall of fame. Durant left Pelinka in the offseason. Iguodala declined a one-year $16 million contract from the Denver Nuggets and met with a half dozen teams when the free agency period opened. He then signed a four-year $48 million contract with the Golden State Warriors. Mayo was also an unrestricted free agent. Pelinka's 2010 fourth overall draftee Johnson signed a one-year deal with the Lakers for the 4th year veteran's minimum salary of $916,099 after, teaming with Pelinka clients Bryant as well as Kaman, who signed with the Lakers the prior week. Trevor Ariza switched agents to sign with Pelinka one year before his contract with the Washington Wizards was due to expire. On November 25, Bryant signed a two-year contract extension with the Lakers at an estimated value of $48.5 million that will make him the first NBA player to play 20 years with the same franchise. He remained the league's highest-paid player, despite accepting the discounted deal; he had been eligible to receive an extension starting at $32 million per year.
Pelinka has signed Dante Exum who has entered the 2014 NBA draft. On June 26, 2014, Exum was selected with the fifth overall by the Utah Jazz. On July 11, 2014, he signed with the Jazz and joined them for the 2014 NBA Summer League. He also represented Shabazz Napier. Napier was selected with 24th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets. He was later traded to the Miami Heat on draft night.
Pelinka was rumored to be in the running to represent Stanley Johnson, but ultimately lost to Bill Duffy. In May 2015, Pelinka signed Shabazz Muhammad. He represented Tyus Jones at the June 25, 2015 NBA draft where he was selected 24th by the Cleveland Cavaliers who traded him to his hometown Minnesota Timberwolves. Pelinka negotiated Harden a $200 million contract with Adidas that Nike opted not to match in August.
He then branched out on his own and founded The Landmark Sports Agency. Recently, he has represented several first-round lottery picks: sixth overall 2003 NBA Draft selection, Chris Kaman, ninth overall 2004 NBA Draft selection, Andre Iguodala, eighth overall 2005 NBA Draft selection, Channing Frye, thirteenth overall 2007 NBA Draft selection, Julian Wright, seventh overall 2008 NBA Draft selection, Eric Gordon, and third overall 2009 NBA Draft selection, James Harden, 4th and 13th overall 2010 NBA Draft selections, Wesley Johnson and Ed Davis, 2nd overall 2011 NBA Draft selection Derrick Williams, and Buddy Hield, the sixth overall pick in 2016. Pelinka currently represents 24 NBA players.
In January 2016, Avery Bradley left Mitchell Butler to sign with Pelinka after being disappointed with the results of a contract extension. During the lead-up to the 2016 NBA draft, Buddy Hield, the consensus college player of the year in 2015–16, signed with Pelinka. Marquese Chriss also signed with Pelinka. Hield was drafted 6th and Chriss was selected 8th.
On February 21, 2017, media sources reported that the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) were set to hire Pelinka to serve as general manager as part of a management shakeup that included the hiring of Magic Johnson as executive vice president of basketball operations in place of Jim Buss and dismissing former GM Mitch Kupchak. On March 7, 2017, Pelinka was officially hired as the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, signing a five-year deal with the team. Magic Johnson in an interview on ESPN's First Take, May 20, 2019 states that Pelinka wanted his position as President of the Lakers and "backstabbed" him. On January 10th, 2020, Pelinka was promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations while also maintaining his role as GM.