For the Los Angeles Lakers, the past few months have seen the team deal with unprecedented levels of drama, from the failed trade negotiations for Anthony Davis prior to February’s trade deadline to former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson’s comments on ESPN’s First Take on Monday. Despite recent successes, such as the Lakers nabbing the No. 4 spot in the NBA Draft Lottery last week, such good news has often been negated by reports that underscore the alleged organizational turmoil behind the scenes.
According to SBNation‘s Silver Screen and Roll, that appeared to be the case on Monday, as Johnson appeared to rip the other members of the Lakers’ front office, especially general manager Rob Pelinka, in his appearance on First Take. The publication also pointed out that Lakers controlling owner and team president Jeanie Buss was notably absent when the team introduced Frank Vogel as its new head coach at a recent press conference. And with all that in mind, The Athletic‘s Sam Amick also chimed in with his own update on Tuesday, hinting that the Lakers’ chances of signing a second superstar free agent to play alongside LeBron James may be smaller than ever before due to all the “dysfunction” within the organization.
As quoted by Silver Screen and Roll, Amick cited unnamed sources close to James, who are reportedly concerned that Johnson’s “messy” departure from the Lakers and all the “negative headlines” surrounding the team could combine to “sabotage” their offseason plans. This, Amick wrote, was how these sources saw it, even prior to Johnson’s First Take appearance.
“The challenge of convincing another elite star to come to town was already seen as daunting around the league, and now these horrendous optics make that uphill climb far worse. Top-tier talents like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and all the rest of them will have plenty of options when July rolls around, and none – not even the [New York] Knicks and certainly not the crosstown Clippers – have the Lakers’ level of dysfunction that’s being exposed right now.”
Lakers Manic Monday leaves franchise image in rubble https://t.co/e3IKKHB4s1— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) May 21, 2019
While Durant and Leonard have long been considered unlikely to sign with the Lakers in the offseason, recent reports have hinted that Irving could be considering Los Angeles as a potential destination, despite rumors linking him to the Knicks. As reported on Tuesday by The Inquisitr, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently speculated about the possibility of Irving and James reuniting in Los Angeles, given how the Boston Celtics point guard has supposedly become “more open” to joining the Lakers.
Windhorst, however, noted that the Lakers may be “lower” on Irving’s list of preferred landing spots, with Johnson’s departure as team president mentioned as one of the factors that could prevent him from wearing the purple and gold.
At this point, there are still a lot of things that could help or harm the Lakers’ chances of having a productive offseason. However, Silver Screen and Roll concluded its reaction to Amick’s piece by positing that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the organization “[comes] up empty-handed” this summer and isn’t able to substantially improve its roster through free agency.