Things could be better in Los Angeles for the Lakers, as they will miss the playoffs yet again and enter this offseason with far more questions than answers after the first season of the LeBron James era.
The stories about discord inside the halls of the Lakers facility have been pouring out of L.A. for much of the season, but with the end almost here, the postmortems on the team have yielded some juicy results. Tuesday was a big day for these stories, as The Athletic published a big story detailing how things got so bad in L.A., including an anecdote about Rob Pelinka telling Larry Nance Jr. he should buy a house in L.A. because he was part of their future, only to trade him shortly after.
There’s also the cloud that’s hung over the team for the majority of the season, the sense that Luke Walton’s tenure as a coach will end after this season. The Lakers insisted they wanted to let the season play out before making a decision on Walton, but reports have steadily come out that the team has targets in mind for the position already. On Tuesday’s episode of The Jump, Ramona Shelburne reported Walton and president Magic Johnson have not spoken to each other “for weeks.”
As Amin Elhassan notes, this is insane, because even if Luke isn’t going to be the guy, he’s the one that has the most insight into the locker room and what the players are doing. Now, maybe he’s talked with Pelinka, but even then this indicates there are serious issues in the Lakers facility and further illustrates some of the problems with Magic’s leadership style in the role of team president.
We’ve heard that Walton wasn’t on board with some of the Lakers roster moves this offseason and that might be where some of the seeds of discontent and division came from, but there still has to be some level of professional decorum from all parties in this situation to talk about things and try to keep the ship going forward. This summer that will be the challenge for Magic and Pelinka, and if they can’t find someone they’re all in on, we’ll likely have another coaching change in the relatively near future in L.A.