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Lakers' Pelinka denies 'backstabbing' allegations

By
Jake Elman
Rob Pelinka has been the Lakers' general manager since 2017. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Rob Pelinka has been the Lakers' general manager since 2017. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

May 20 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka defended himself Monday after former Lakers executive Magic Johnson accused Pelinka of "backstabbing" him.

Speaking at a press conference introducing Frank Vogel as the Lakers' new head coach, Pelinka called Johnson's comments "surprising to hear and disheartening." Johnson made the comments on ESPN's First Take.

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"I stand beside him," Pelinka told reporters. "I stand with him as a colleague and a partner. I've always supported everything he's done and will continue to."

Johnson stepped down as Lakers president last month. He defended Pelinka after leaving the Lakers but took a different approach on First Take.

Johnson accused Pelinka of spreading misinformation about him.

"If you're going to talk betrayal," Johnson said, "it's only with Rob."

Vogel said he also took issue with Johnson's comments.

"The perception of our organization is very far from the reality," Vogel said. "From my experience coming in here, of just the thoroughness of the work, the collaboration of how things are being done with the decision-making."

The Lakers have not made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season.

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