The massively disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers is close to the end. The team that got LeBron James in the offseason, couldn’t make the playoffs. After his signing the Lakers were 12/1 to win the NBA Championship. A month ago they were 30/1.
The finger pointing has already begun, with the media and fans blaming everyone from coach Luke Walton, to Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka to James himself.
We at OG News have pretty limber fingers, so we’ll hop on the blame wagon and point our digits at a variety of people we believe have at least a little culpability.
Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka
They run the show, so ultimately they bear the brunt of the responsibility for the failure of the season. The duo, who are charge of personnel, assumed that the players they had would be enough.
Granted the team was hit with a bunch of injuries, but how they handled the pursuit of New Orleans center Anthony Davis. They made the trade public, alienated the young players who were mentioned as trade bait, then didn’t tell James to zip it when he talked about giving the Pelicans all their young players.
Signing Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley, and JaVale McGee all proved to be a mistake as well. There should be no confidence in the pair’s plan to rearm for the 2020 season.
The greatest player in the game came to Tinseltown with talk of winning a championship, but it appeared at time he was far more interested in his off the court interests like television.
He also made a major gaffe when he sold his young teammates out during the Davis trade, saying they could all go in exchange for the All-Star center. When the trade didn’t happen, his teammates felt betrayed.
James had his first major injury of his career missing significant time with a groin injury. He has played 15 seasons, and at 34 years old, father time might be giving him a battle. If the Lakers can’t surround James with the talent to win a championship, does James start mentally checking out? He already announced he was shutting it down for the remaining six games of this season.
Bad form to lobby for a job before the coach has been fired, but that is exactly what Kidd has done. It is pretty obvious that current coach Luke Walton won’t be around next season, but wait until the news is delivered before you send your resume over to the Lakers.
“And so if you ever have the opportunity to wear the purple and gold, you can’t turn that down,” Kidd said. “As a coach, as a player, because they’re all about championships, and so they have a process. They have a young team. And then LeBron [James] comes and kind of sped up things.”
Just because you are a former player, it doesn’t give you the right to suddenly weigh in on what the team should be doing. He told ESPN his thoughts on what he thought the Lakers should do.
“I think it’s just a matter of being patient, right? Obviously, they’ll make smart decisions. You have opportunities, pieces that you can trade, assets, things of that sort. Or, you can stay with the young guys who are extremely talented and have great upside, and let them develop. Either direction you go should be a good direction.”
Ex-New Orleans Pelican GM Dell Demps
Was New Orleans ever serious about trading Davis? Demps kept asking for more and more to trade Davis to the Lakers. It never did seem like the team was serious about dealing Davis to Los Angeles.
They might have been, though, and when it didn’t happen, Demps was out of a job.
Los Angeles Lakers Media and Fans
When the Lakers signed James in the summer, the local media was fawning all over themselves congratulating Johnson and Pelinka. Likewise for the fans, who instantly thought the team was going to challenge the Golden State Warriors for the Western Conference.
When that obviously wasn’t going to happen, the media and fans turned on the team like wild jackals on a gazelle carcass. It was amusing to see the 180 they both did before the season was over.