The internal, now external disrespect towards LeBron James and Ty Lue must be addressed.
The timeline of the Los Angeles Lakers drama is growing every day. The litany of blunders, mismanagement, and dysfunction that has plagued the once proud franchise continues as the LA soap opera dominates the sports media landscape.
It gets more ridiculous every day, with LeBron James trade rumors now at the center of the mess. It’s so bad that fans are organizing a protest this afternoon in front of the Staples Center.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) May 9, 2019
It’s the latest pie in the face for the Lakers franchise and comes on the heels of a head coaching search debacle. Supposedly, LeBron wanted Ty Lue to be the head coach and Lue went as far as to have a Lakers cake at his recent birthday party.
It was supposed to be a done deal. But according to reports, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is letting “friends of the organization” like former Lakers player, coach, and executive Kurt Rambis and his wife influence decisions. The entire deal went down the drain over a few years and a couple of dollars, thrusting the totality of this Lakers fiasco into the light.
Insiders familiar with the Lakers situation think Rambis, who has taken over Magic Johnson’s role as Buss’ main adviser on basketball issues, wants the head coaching job for himself. Others say Rambis’ wife is the puppet master.
Via USA Today: “Rambis and his wife, Linda, are close with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who considers Linda one of her best friends. Linda also works for the Lakers as the executive director of special projects. That nebulous title doesn’t convey her power.
Buss and Linda Rambis go back decades and worked together to create the Forum Tennis Challenge Series featuring some of the top tennis pros of the 1980s and 1990s. Linda’s influence on Buss is undeniable. In a recent column by Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times he referred to Linda as the “shadow owner of the Lakers.”
“It’s more sad than anything,” said former NBA player and ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson, who frequently speaks with James, his good friend, and former Cavs teammate. “This is one of the great franchises in all of the sports… in the entire world and we don’t know exactly what’s true here..you hear a lot of rumors but the more you hear from multiple sources whether it’s the involvement of the Rambis’, what’s going on with Rob Pelinka or the exit of Magic Johnson, they need to take a step back and really evaluate.”
No wonder Magic bounced on this mess. Accusations, blame hurling, stories of structural collapse and a business model riddled with non-professionalism are rampant. But the 4-year $154 million question remains.
Where is LeBron James?
The public hasn’t heard a peep from the usually vocal King on social media or any news outlet. He’s had the roughest year of his NBA career, while enduring failures that are foreign to a guy that’s had fans and media eating out of his hands for over a decade.
He’s probably just decompressing with no time to deal with the bs. But the world is waiting to hear how he responds to these trade rumors, the Lue situation and everything else.
I would assume he’s licking his wounds, strategizing, shaking his head and laughing at the Lakers at the same time. Bron came to the Lakers with all of the fanfare of royalty about to conquer another kingdom. His arrival marked the beginning of another Lakers Dynasty in the eyes of the Lakers Nation. A year later and ownership is having trade talks over tea about Bron?
Jeannie Buss and Kurt Rambis’s wife are pushing back against LeBron having the show be entirely his. That’s their “fear” if he hires Lue.
Media loves Jeannie Buss, let’s see if they call her out or just say, “Lakers wyd?” https://t.co/jCCQ5cYmBz
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 8, 2019
LeBron needs to make a statement, especially about the possibility of the Lakers trying to trade him. He’s probably addressed them in private, but he can’t hide behind the offseason and NBA playoffs at a time when his character is being assassinated on a daily basis and the team he signed with is falling apart.
This latest debacle is just another in a long line of firsts for LeBron James this season. Some call it a disaster. Others call it necessary growth.
James suffered a slight tear in his left groin on Christmas Day, causing him to miss 17 straight games. He missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. During the season, Bron’s public criticism of his teammates didn’t play out in the same way it has in the past. Instead of being a master motivator, he was viewed as throwing players under the bus.
The dagger in the season was LeBron, Magic and Rich Paul’s failed attempt at an Anthony Davis coup before the February trade deadline.
If it had worked, everything might be different. Once the deal to snag Davis from the Pelicans for half of the Lakers team, plus the kitchen sink fell through, the trust was gone in the locker room and Magic Johnson and LeBron ended up looking like snakes in the grass.
It only worsened an already difficult situation, and the low point was when LeBron James got booed by Lakers fans late in an already lost season.
Add in owner Buss’ perplexing denial of the trade attempt, the firing of head coach Luke Walton, the abrupt departure of Magic Johnson, the ineptitude ego of GM Rob Pelinka and you get an offseason of turmoil and drastic transition.
The Lakers are dropping the ball, but won’t admit that they’re lost in the sauce. Denial and false confidence is the organization’s MO now.
“The people inside the organization feel like everyone outside of us is just hating on us but the reality is everyone outside of the organization is mocking you and very confused by everything that you’re doing…If you don’t have people on a position who have ever done this job, then you have to have people around them who know how to do it.”
Jefferson went on to blast Jeanie Buss.“And if the Rambis’ are giving input, it’s asinine to think that somebody (like Tyronn Lue) would want to take on an assistant coach who could be their replacement. It’s asinine to ask a coach who just won a championship and has been to an NBA Finals to only take a three-year deal.”
After seeing how the Lakers treated Lue, the organization is undoubtedly having a hard time securing a viable head coach.
RJ is right. All of the public criticism of the Lakers is mostly spot on. The problem is, no one wants to hear from him. The basketball world is waiting for the NBA’s biggest star to speak up on the madness and at least calm the fans who are threatening to boycott the front office and protest.