Although the Los Angeles Lakers appear to have weathered the worst of the slump that has affected them throughout the second half of the 2018-19 NBA season, a new report suggests that the organization is still in a state of chaos as they head into the offseason and prepare to miss the playoffs for a franchise-record sixth consecutive season.
As cited by Bleacher Report, ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski described the Lakers in a video posted on Thursday as an organization that is “not aligned really on any level” at this point, where superstar forward LeBron James has been shut down for the season and the team has just four games to play. In specific, the ESPN NBA insider detailed how the team’s chain of command has been an issue, with team owner Jeanie Buss, president Earvin “Magic” Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka, head coach Luke Walton, and James all allegedly unable to see eye-to-eye on matters.
Talking about the Lakers as a potential destination for top free agents, Wojnarowski touched on how Los Angeles Clippers executive Jerry West seemed to downplay James’ decision to sign with the Lakers last summer. While the four-time NBA MVP’s arrival in Los Angeles was seen by many as a coup, West recently told Sports Illustrated that James was “not a tough free agent signing” due to his longtime desire to play for the Lakers.
Conversely, Southern California native Paul George was considered a sure thing to sign for the hometown Lakers in the summer of 2018, as he entered free agency after one year with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Instead, he didn’t even grant the Lakers a meeting, choosing to sign a new contract with the Thunder shortly before it was confirmed that James was headed to Los Angeles for the 2018-19 season.
“Now, the Lakers face another crucial offseason. But before they can chase star free agents such as Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson, they must put an end to any dysfunction,” Bleacher Report wrote.
— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) April 4, 2019
As for the rampant rumors that Los Angeles could be firing Walton after a third straight losing season and the disappointment of missing the playoffs, despite LeBron James’ arrival, Wojnarowski hinted that the Lakers’ youthful head coach might not be the only person in the organization whose job may be on the line in the coming offseason.
Wojnarowski’s dire assessment of the Los Angeles Lakers’ organizational issues was not the only one in recent days to delve into the matter. Last week, ESPN‘s Dave McMenamin wrote about how the “most anticipated” Lakers season in several years turned into a “cautionary tale,” due to the multiple personnel decisions and controversies that might have caused the on- and off-court turmoil within the team and effectively derailed their push for a playoff spot this season.