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  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:36 AM on April 17, 2019 Permalink |  

    This Lakers team was the worst squad LeBron James has led, according to the numbers 

    All-Star forward LeBron James, center, has almost always had more support from teammates than he got this season with the Lakers. Here’s a look at the numbers.

    Source: This Lakers team was the worst squad LeBron James has led, according to the numbers

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:34 AM on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Loved Luke as a ‘let’s develop a team over time guy’ as it would have also afforded him space and time to learn the ropes. LBJ accelerated everyone’s process and revealed a multitude of cracks in the façade of the entire franchise. Training wheels off for everyone, now.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:33 AM on April 17, 2019 Permalink |  

    Windhorst’s handbook for coaching LeBron James 

    The things the Lakers’ next coach needs to know and do to have a chance with LeBron James.

    Source: Windhorst’s handbook for coaching LeBron James

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:45 PM on April 16, 2019 Permalink |  

    Damian Lillard’s moment is coming — it’s just a matter of time 

    Back-to-back postseason sweeps could have sent the Blazers down a dark path. But Lillard Time keeps moving forward in Portland.

    Source: Damian Lillard’s moment is coming — it’s just a matter of time

    Man, I want us to build a team culture like the Trailblazres have…

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:23 PM on April 14, 2019 Permalink |  

    Big time congrats to Tiger Woods, what a comeback for one of the greatest to ever knock one around the fairway.

    • NBA4ever

      NBA4ever 9:11 PM on April 14, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Great Masters tournament. Incredible win for Tiger, never seen him so genuinely happy.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 4:10 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink |  

    I honestly can’t recall a moment in time where I questioned the direction of the franchise this severely. I started blogging a few months before the Pau trade altered the direction of the franchise and I did it because I could see a team that had Kobe freaking Bryant playing at a mediocre level, at best, for many years to come. Mitch and Dr. Buss altered the narrative in stunning fashion and we won 2 more banners. Since Phil decided to come back for his last hurrah things have gone steadily downhill and only seem to be increasing speed.

    After Phil signed off on one more year the Lakers have seen:
    -The passing of Dr. Jerry Buss
    -Kobe blowing out his Achilles
    -Kobe desperately trying to be Kobe and failing. Injuries and age caught up and Kobe exited the game awkwardly, save for his last performance which was simply legendary.
    -The Buss Family go to war…with each other with Jeannie emerging victorious.
    -Magic quitting on the Lakers for a 2nd time.
    -A pool of talent leave with nary a 2nd round draft pick as compensation.
    -Luke Walton moves on with nobody really in charge except for Rob Lowe Lite.

    Luke keeping his job was never a certainty but I at least wanted someone with a vision to make the decision. Rob “we need tough guys!” Pelinka is 100% not that guy. He can’t even get trade exceptions for players he knows he’ll let leave. He and magic built the most ill-fitting team around a super-star in recent memory. He’s entering his 3rd season which is considered a growth year and they’re about to make him the focus of the franchise.

    Frankly, I am at a point where I need to turn this noise off. It’s really disappointing to see the Lakers make poor choice after poor choice, doubling down on the poor choice and following that up with a choice that is unexplainable. Why would you let you coach go without even trying to squeeze a draft pick out of one of the interested teams? Why would you let Rob ‘2 years on the job’ palinka make any decision that would affect the franchise in any meaningful way?

    The Lakers have become the Clippers, minus the racism. At least I hope minus the racism because at this point nothing would surprise me. Any shred of silver lining that came with Magic’s departure has vanished in a cloud of stupidity, ignorance and, frankly, panic. There is no plan. There is no direction. the culture, if you can even call it that, is one of fear and isolation. Much like America is acting today.

    Panic is not a word I had ever associated with the Lakers, until now. Not when Magic contracted HIV and retired unexpectedly. Not when we didn’t make the playoffs the following season. Not when Shaq was traded. Not when we missed the playoffs. Not when Kobe said he’d play on Pluto. not when Kobe blew out his Achilles. Not until today.

    Panic and fear, the new words that define the Los Angeles Lakers. I need an old school mamba24 roll call to boost my spirits and I don’t think it’s very likely to happen. What a dark day.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 4:16 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      So what ya sayin is it can only get better from here? Lol Mid-July will tell us everything.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 4:20 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Deej, even you have to admit with Rob running this thing, we are royally F’de!!!!
        He traded Zubac for garbage and the entire League Laughed at the stupidity of it!

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 8:22 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Actually I feel like we’re in the deep part of the ocean staring down into the Mariana trench and I’m just hoping we don’t fall further into the depths.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 4:18 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      For me, the only way this can be okay is if Kobe signs on as a consultant and convinces Durant to come.
      Since I think there’s maybe a 1% chance of this happening, we are officially screwed.
      I really, really, really, really, really, really, really dislike Fake Rob Lowe and can’t beleive he is running this thing now.
      Jeanie is a lot dumber than I thought.
      I’m surprised Linda Rambis hasn’t been installed in the FO yet!

      • DJ2KB24

        DJ2KB24 4:25 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Always dark before the dawn. Seriously it ALL depends on LBJ and who he can get or, gulp, not.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:26 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Matt, the problem is Kobe Bryant recommending his buddy Rob Pelinka. Magic didn’t hire Pelinka. Jeanie did. As President of Basketball Operations, Magic should have at least been given the opportunity to hire his own general manager.

        Jeanie has ability to craft a vision for the team other than reaching out to former Lakers legends and dumbly following their advice. I’m sure that she talked to Kobe and he said Rob was the right man for the job.

        She might even hire Kobe as PBO since he’s the only one who would keep Pelinka. What a clusterfuck. Rob Pelinka is the Ghost of Kobe Bryant.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 6:14 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Tom, you know I’m in line with you regarding what Jeanie should do.
          I’m just trying to find a silver lining.
          Since guys like KD idolized Kobe when they were younger, Jeanie’s hope is that Kobe can sway them to come,
          You know I’m not down with this type of reasoning at all.
          One other silver lining could be Griffin taking the Nola job. According to Ramona, he and Rich Paul have a good relationship and Griffin has been quoted as “liking the Laker’s young talent.”

        • Magic Phil

          Magic Phil 6:19 PM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Sup LT!!! Glad you’re up and running. You don’t need to say “The ghost of Kobe Bryant” again. It was everywhere in your comments below LOL.
          I said it before: Magic will put the Lakers on our knees. Instead of seeing the downfall slowly, Magic decided to end our misery and quit but it was written on the stars; he will screw big and now I see. If there is “The ghost of Kobe Bryant”, I’d rather take it. I love Magic, you all know, but as a player. The coaching experience was a wake-up for me; he was horrible.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:11 AM on April 12, 2019 Permalink |  

    All the media chowder heads dumping on LeBron for going to watch his friend end his career in Miami are beyond silly. What’s he going to say? “Magic didn’t tell me, the boss is going to hire a new sub-boss, my season is over and I’m very disappointed about it.” Or something to that effect? Personally I think the league is gong to see Lebron turn back the clock and go into anhelation mode early and often so, please, keep piling fuel on that little fire.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 9:31 AM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That’s what they do. Love to kick folks when they’re down.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 9:41 AM on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      On another note, I just watched the new Game of Zones and I was rolling! My favorite one so far. Just the crazed look on Jimmy’s face was perfect!

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:59 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink |  

    Also, add J.B. Bickerstaff to the list of available coaches. Personally, I see that as a wash. Hard to argue that J.B. has more of anything than does Walton, if anything Luke’s tenure with Golden State is a slight nod in his favor. Both value defense, both value the three without being married to it, both have NBA pedigree in the form of their Fathers, Luke with his playing experience on banner-winning teams.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:01 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I agree, Jamie. Once we hire an elite PBOM, the Lakers will suddenly become the most attractive landing spot in the NBA for both coaches and players. All these Lakers are a wreck stories will change to total optimism. We won’t be talking about hiring coaches like J.B. Bickerstaff.

    • mclyne32 (Director) 4:33 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Why start low?
      This Franchise needs to start thinking like the Great Dr. Jerry Buss again.
      Jeanie wanting to go after Myers is a start.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 2:54 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink |  

    Cap experts could we wrangle something where we extend and trade Ball and trade him plus picks for Kemba? Ball is out a few mil and could use the cash influx.

    (only kidding…kinda…)

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:00 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Sign-and-trade deals are not as easy to do as they used to be. There was talk that the Raptors might be willing to do a sign-and-trade with the team the Kawhi chooses. Right now, I think the Lakers aren’t going to make any moves. Their trade assets, lottery pick, and $38 million in cap space are the prize that their new PBO/GM will have to play with to build a championship team for next season. He’ll make all the decisions on whom to sign, whom to draft, and whom and for whom to trade. Jeanie needs to move as quickly as possible to give the new hire time to put his plan together and execute it.

    • Michael H (Editor)

      Michael H (Editor) 3:13 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I don’t think Ball is eligible for an extension until next year. BI is eligible this summer.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:22 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I think they could give him one any time they want. They have to make a decision on BI before the season begins though. Another reason to get the new PBO/GM in place ASAP. The medical stuff could make it hard for Lakers to give him the extension. He would still be an RFA so they would not lose him. Trade wise, the extension would give him a bigger salary for trade purposes but would also eliminate cap space for next summer when AD would be a free agent. Lots of key decisions to be made by whomever the Lakers get to replace Magic.

        • mclyne32 (Director) 4:37 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          I agree, Tom.
          Jeanie has to move swiftly and decisively. With the draft coming up, coaches becoming available, and most importantly for us, the start of the Free Agency period, there isn’t a lot of time- especially when we all know that the big fish always agree to new deals way before the official day comes.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:57 PM on April 10, 2019 Permalink |  

    Odds on Kemba Walker signing with another team certainly went up a bit with Charlotte also missing the playoffs. Go hard at Kemba, next front office.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 10:43 AM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Kemba stated clearly that winning was his top priority although he did not close door on returning to Charlotte. The big question is do you wait for Kyrie or go right after Kemba. I think Kyrie is better but not by so much that I would take a chance on missing Kemba if he was willing to sign with the Lakers.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 4:30 PM on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Kyrie is a much better option since we know he’s shone on the biggest stage.
        We have no idea how Kemba is when it counts.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:14 AM on April 10, 2019 Permalink |  

    There will be two sides to this debate and, frankly, neither is accurate. Magic didn’t quit on the Lakers. He and Rob did what they thought was the correct path to turning the franchise around and honestly they were one strained groin away from doing just that this season. If LeBron had not gotten hurt this would be a different tale. It’s not. But what would have not worked is Magic miserable in an executive role where he can’t do the other things he clearly enjoys doing. From the Twitter fines to the being on TV fines to not being able to work with young players like he’s always done to simply being involved in community or progressive endeavors this was probably not the right job for Magic to take from the get-go.

    Jeannie is a little more responsible for this than Magic, but this is a web of many tangles. While she may not have been the one trading players or hiring coaches she certainly has a voice that she uses when she so chooses and the Laker culture starts in her office. She made the choice to hire a friend (and able-bodied business man and ex-Laker HOFer) and someone who bordered on being family to replace her brother. While she may have trusted Magic to a fault it would seem he couldn’t look her in the eye when he quit. He had the same issue when he first retired as a player with telling his coach, Pat Riley. Magic is an emotional man and the job he was in did not allow him that space.

    This is sports, the narrative crafted by pundits and talking heads fits the moment, not reality. This will all change as the story (complete with a few nuggets of truth) comes out from more and more people. I will say to this point that Jeannie needs to wake up and move on from the glory days. Banners are hung with blood, sweat and tears, not bought or found in friendship. Winning in sports (especially consistently like the Spurs and Patriots do) is nigh impossible. That kind of strength starts at the top and needs to be reflected, magnified, and intensified down to the players on the court.

    Rob may stay, or he may go. Luke might be coach next season, maybe not. Regardless, the Lakers need to do something they’re not used to doing: move slowly and deliberately. So, with that in mind, all of this gushing and opinionating by ESPN chowder heads and LA Times reporters desperate to keep a newspaper viable really don’t hold too much weight with me. Certainly nothing from the Twit-o-Sphere. What is said in one-on-one interviews has a little more weight but, if we’re being honest with one another, we’ll never ‘know’ the truth. To that end we need to hear from Jeannie and Rob Pelinka, too.

    Until such time, here’s a notion for the media hordes: take the man at his word. Magic’s tears were not of the crocodile variety. It’s very understandable both why he strongly felt he had to fire Luke Walton and why he struggled with that emotionally while also weighing the fact that he no longer felt like he was living his own life. It’s definitely understandable that he relates to Jeannie Buss in the way a brother does a sister. He didn’t elaborate on the ‘whispers and the backstabbing’ and so it’s truly impossible to tell what he meant by that.

    Luke has not coached a team to anything resembling a winning record. He could very easily get fired by whomever replaces Magic. This coming from a fan who thinks Luke can, eventually, get it done but we’re not in an ‘eventually’ place. At all. We’re in a ‘find the coach who can win now’ mode. In fact it’s just as likely that the front office and training staff all will get a make-over. That will come down to the new President and potentially GM. However this shakes out I can tell you three things:

    -I hope we move in a direction where professionals are hired to do a professional job.
    -That everyone involved slows their roll and makes smart, well-though out decisions.
    -Whatever we say or do on this blog will have nothing to do with any of it.

    But venting does help soothe the soul and so to that I say pour one out for Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. I had as much faith in him helping us get back to the playoffs and winning ways as any ex-Laker but the plain truth is that an ex-Laker is probably not the best person for this job. It’s going to take professionals.

    • Magicman (Editor)

      Magicman (Editor) 11:18 AM on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Stephen A said Magic told Jeanie he wanted to replace Luke and Pelinka.

      She got her back up and that’s when Magic knew, Jamie.

      So Magic put Jeanie and Pelinka in the eye of the storm.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 11:20 AM on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Magic’s worth 500 Mil. He doesn’t need this BS I’d you’re not gonna let him do his job.

        Money can’t buy happiness, it can buy you autonomy.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 11:25 AM on April 10, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Ramona said the same thing. So did Chris Haynes and so did Shams.

        She denies it.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 1:00 AM on April 10, 2019 Permalink |  

    Magic Johnson decided it’s better to just be Magic Johnson 

    Visit ESPN to get up-to-the-minute sports news coverage, scores, highlights and commentary for NFL, MLB, NBA, College Football, NCAA Basketball and more.

    Source: Magic Johnson decided it’s better to just be Magic Johnson

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:13 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink |  

    OK, Ice Cube is on the Spectrum broadcast for the 3rd quarter (was sitting courtside) and just said the view from Chick’s Nest is way better and then, while Stu was explaining how they don’t blocked out by refs or players Cube said “and who wants Damien Lillard’s booty in they’re face?!” Never seen Stu Lantz break down laughing like that in all my years.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:48 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink |  

    Also, D-Wade-30 pts in his last game, Nowitzki-30 pts in his last game.

    Looks like they combined for a Kobe to me.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:31 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink |  

    This is what Jeannie grabbing the reins looks like? Daaaaayyyyyyuuuummm girl why’d you wait for so long?! Crack that whip, make that wagon sing through the prairie!

    • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

      Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:40 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Kidding aside. Now the time has come to do things right, though. No gut hires, no short cuts, no glory days. Nor more ‘this guy has never done this job ever…PERFECT!!!!’ One could argue, easily, that Luke falls into the above mold just as much as Magic and Rob. He’d never been the head coach of even a high school team before they offered him the job without looking for other candidates.

      If she installs another Buss family member or Kurt Rambis this will truly be a joke of epic proportions. One thing that this could portend would be the trading of LeBron James and what an end to his career that could make. Man the Lake Show is a little too focused on the ‘show’ and not the Lake(rs).

      Honestly I’m in a bit of a daze. On the one hand I’m glad Magic was man enough to admit his mistakes, on the other I’m bummed he wasn’t willing to co-exist with Luke for at least half a season or so. It’s like when you p******f Grand Pa and he quietly leaves the room and you wonder if he’s going to go have a heart attack or get the shot gun. Should you run or call grand ma to make sure Gramps is OK?

      Jeannie has put a lot of eggs in the Walton Basket, that’s the only sure thing I see so far.

      • Magicman (Editor)

        Magicman (Editor) 9:47 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        He used curious wording about their relationship.

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 9:50 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Literally just found out like 10 minutes ago so I’m still in a total state of shock. Seeing both pros and cons. While this is certainly a pressure valve releasing steam it fixes nothing, the boiler still needs to be fixed and who’s manning the engine room?

          • Magicman (Editor)

            Magicman (Editor) 10:00 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            It feels like Jeanie is tripping over the low bar set by her brother. Didn’t see this coming.

            Not speaking to Jeanie first? Highly dubious to me.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:32 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink

              Yeah, maybe. Need to watch the whole thing, all I’ve seen is a couple of clips. I will say I think it would be both professionally and personally difficult for Magic to go against Jeannie in any way. i don’t think either of them is fronting when they say they have a super-tight brother/sister relationship.

              From my perspective it feels like the following:
              Pelinka acted more like an agent than a GM and, for whatever reason, Magic was cool with that.
              Magic wanted to fire Luke but didn’t really have a great reason, especially in light of the roster he was given (not the one he wanted with either Randle or Brook on it) and the injuries (still an issue to be dealt with in some manner)
              Jeannie probably strongly urged Magic to not fire Luke in their meeting and Magic was obviously conflicted.

              What I still don’t get, and probably never will, is why he felt the need to quit? I mean, is it so bad to wait a week or so to see if any other great coaching names get fired during/right after the playoffs? Certainly you wouldn’t want to waste time and start the season with him if the firing was even a potentiality (obviously it was), why get the team on one page only to switch horses mid-stream. I get that you don’t want to waste LeBron’s time and I’m curious to see/hear what comes out of his camp.

              At any rate, it’s an off season with even more questions now.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 10:33 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink

              Very interesting that he didn’t bring this to her first.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:37 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink

              Also this is just the first show to drop. Everyone could be gone by May.

      • mclyne32 (Director) 10:23 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Get ready for Linda Rambis to be named our new Head of Basketball Operations!!!!

        • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

          Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 10:34 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yeah right. I did start thinking of ladies that qualified, however. Would be z-e-r-o surprising to me if Jeannie named the first woman GM in the game of basketball

          • mclyne32 (Director) 10:44 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I want someone who has done this before and succeeded!
            This one you can’t screw up, again.
            Like I said earlier, she should be on the phone right now offering Jerry West a position in the Front Office. We all know he has no interest in running the day to day, but he needs a seat at the d**n table!!!!!! He could greatly help Jeanie in finding the new GM.

            • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

              Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:02 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink

              I would worry about his age, I’m not sure he could handle the stress. There must be a reason he’s been the consultant and not the GM/Prez/etc. since the Grizzlies.

            • mclyne32 (Director) 11:17 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink

              It would be based on what he wanted- how much involvement he would like. He still could be a voice and sounding board. I think it would work perfectly with his son Ryan already with us.

  • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

    Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 11:38 AM on April 9, 2019 Permalink |  

    The Future 

    Well, here we are. Last game of this torturous season. Got so bad a couple months ago there just wasn’t ever 5 Things to Like or even get p********f about. It was just…bad. Real bad. The collateral damage is still piling up, though, with as of yet undetermined casualties in the coaching room and the locker room. My expectation is that Jeannie Buss will not fire Magic or Rob this summer. Everyone else not named LeBron James should prepare for bad news.

    Magic put the coaching situation one out there early and the plot line has certainly remained unresolved. Will Luke be back to fulfill the final guaranteed year of his deal? Or, like literally every coach before him not named Phil Jackson, will he get a pay check without having to coach for a whole year? My thinking is Luke gets the axe and the entire coaching staff goes with him, even nice guy Brian Shaw. I’ve waffled on this for awhile now for two reasons: I’ve always appreciated the way Luke approaches the game and he’s been great at developing our young players with what influence he has over them. This ain’t the 80’s when Riles could draconically lord over his roster, run through whatever practices he wanted and let God sort ’em out. There are rules for those kind of things, also science has shown us that running premier athletes into the ground during practice is a bad idea.

    What do I like about Coach Walton’s approach? It’s flexible. It’s based on the simple, achievable things any NBA team can do if they simply try and work hard. His offensive schemes are generally unrecognizable because I don’t think he has too many which has strengths and weaknesses, especially where young players are concerned. He’s neither an acolyte of the modern NBA nor overly old school; he understands the value of the three point shot and the low post game. Like Phil he understands that you get out of the way of the great players and try to do everything you can to give them the space and tools to succeed.

    What don’t I like about Luke? I’m an easy-going guy, it truly is hard to ruffle my feathers. But Luke is an easy going guy in a job that requires a little more of an edge. Especially when you’re dealing with veterans who have accomplished something in the game. As we saw when the one-year vets blew up at Luke in the locker room he doesn’t necessarily possess the gravitas to hold a ruptured locker room together and that only showed itself to be more true as the season collapsed. If the reason for Luke getting fired is they want a coach with more weight in the game than that’s a reasonable one. Only problem is you gotta go find that coach, if he doesn’t already have a job. Some dude fresh off a cute NCAA run or an assistant coach ain’t that guy. Not too many names fit that bill.

    The only thing that could save Walton his job might just be LeBron James. If LeBron comes out of his exit meeting saying something like “I want these guys back, we’ve got unfinished business, this is my team” or some such statement it could delay the axe falling. Personally I feel that, given the roster construction and the injuries there is reason enough to retain Luke simply because there aren’t too many great, viable alternatives out there. Other than that, I can’t really see a reason why Magic wouldn’t fire the coach he threw under the bus to kick the season off. It’s been set up from the get go, just waiting for bowling ball to roll down the lane.

    The other thing that could do it is the idea of actually, finally, building something. I have to tip my cap to Rob and Magic for untangling the terrible contracts the Lakers had accumulated in the final years of the Jim/Mitch regime. That’s now where the compliments stop for me. Honestly, they could have gone a different route if they had simply waived and stretched both Deng and Mozgov in subsequent seasons. Trading Lou Williams has revealed itself to be folly. Even our scouting department who is great at finding late first round talent and even better at finding 2nd rounders that can have an impact can’t seem to get the lottery picks right. Except for Julius Randle…

    But they aren’t team building, they’re can-kicking and overly focused on one, small aspect of the game: superstars. Maybe too much so in that, yes, you do need great talent to win at this level. But you also need things like trust, camaraderie chemistry and a strong sense of team first. Those are all areas where Magic and Rob, frankly, suck eggs. Big time. From Rob not being wholly honest with his players to Magic telling them they need to toughen up to the entire team being put on the trading block the front office doesn’t seem to value any of the traits that are normally associated with a winning culture.

    The future can still be bright. If I had my way I’d be all in on keeping Kuzma and Ingram simply because they are both so versatile. If nothing solid emerges as a potential trade than I think Rob and Magic will likely keep most of the roster into camp. Not sure what we can offer for AD that we didn’t already offer and we won’t have KCP’s money to balance out the salaries so it would have to be for someone whom the young core’s money matches up with. Besides, if you’re looking elite guards or centers there are a couple of each coming on the market this summer. Magic and Rob don’t need to make good on Magic’s oh so silly proclamation that he’s going to get another superstar this summer, they just need to do their jobs better and that idea trickles on down.

    Luke needs to do a better job of keeping the locker room and devising ways to get easy buckets, Jeannie needs to do a better job of keeping the big picture in everyone’s mind and the players need to do a lot of work this summer to catch up and become who I’m sure they believe themselves capable of being: All Stars and playoff contenders. No playoffs means a waste of LeBron and the fans time. We’re not watching The Process in Philly and we’re not watching the Miami Heat assemble a super team of stars looking to take a little less to play together. We’re watching one of the greatest sports franchises the world has ever seen try and pick itself up out of the muck. I don’t think anyone knew how much of a struggle it would be. They do now.

    • LakerTom (Publisher) 1:35 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Good post, Jamie. Thanks for taking the time and effort to write it.

      There’s no doubt that this season has been excruciatingly disappointing. Dysfunction throughout the organization and unprecedented injuries to the starters has made this season forgettable. It seems like every day brings more bad news and more reasons to doubt anything will be different this summer.

      The Lakers have three swings at getting it right this summer. They need to hit homeruns on all three swings rather than strikeout. The three swings are solving the coaching problem, signing the right free agents, and making the right decisions about their young stars.

      1. COACHING STAFF. Since Jeanie is not going to fire Magic Johnson or Rob Pelinka, the media and pundits clearly have head coach Luke Walton and his entire staff in the crosshairs. While I’ve been a strong supporter of the Lakers retaining Luke Walton, it’s looking more and more like Maginka are determined to make him the scapegoat for their own ineptness. Right now, it seems like the only thing that could save Luke’s Job is the unavailability of a big name coach to replace him.

      I cringe at the idea of Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, Tyrone Lue, or Juwan Howard becoming the next Lakers coach. The fact that Magic supposedly inquired about Jason Kidd early in the season shows how much I trust his judgement. Jeanie should have looked closer at the job Magic did as Lakers head coach and the lack of judgement and intelligence displayed by his ridiculous tweets. Firing Luke Walton would be the first indication that Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka have learned nothing from their mistakes last summer.

      The first thing Maginka could do to restore some semblance of intelligence and stability would be to retain Luke Walton as head coach but with a complete revamping of his coaching staff. I would like to see the Lakers hire Ettore Messina as Associate Head Coach. An assistant for the San Antonio Spurs after a storied career coaching in Italy, Messina is renowned for his offensive X’s and O’s brilliance.

      Messina would not only give Luke the type of veteran coaching expertise to transform the Lakers bumbling offense into a 21st century juggernaut much like Mike Budenholzer did for the Bucks but would also give the Lakers a proven and logical successor to transition to should Luke be up to the challenge. I would also revamp the entire assistant coaching staff, including bringing in a respected shooting coach.

      2. FREE AGENCY. The next key step would be signing the right players this summer. By right players, I mean players who take and make high volumes of threes. That means signing a top tier free agent superstar like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, or Kemba Walker instead of a big name superstar like Jimmy Butler or Kawhi Leonard, who favor midrange jumpers over 3-point shots. It also means signing a stretch five who can spread the floor to free up LeBron James, The perfect candidate is Brook Lopez, whom Luke and his staff wanted to bring back last summer. Other elite candidates would include DeMarcus Cousins and Nikola Vucevic.

      3. YOUNG STARS. Besides improving the coaching staff and signing the right players to surround LeBron with elite 3-point shooting, I think it’s important for the Lakers to NOT trade away any of their budding young stars, including Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Kyle Kuzma. Watching them grow and develop into All-Star level players on other teams like D’Angelo Russell or even elite roll players like Julius Randle, Thomas Bryant, or Ivica Zubac would only increase fans’ frustration. Even if we were to add an elite point guard like Kemba or Kyrie, the smart move would be to play two point guards like the Rockets did with Harden and CP3.

      Hitting three home runs would do a lot to elevate the Lakers into a true championship contender. Striking out would inevitably lead to a second major crisis and new front office next season. I’m hoping Magic and Rob have learned something and hit those home runs.

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:30 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Somebody is in full baseball mode, lol.

        Thanks LT, while I love the idea of prying some smart coaches from other teams I just don’t see what the lure is unless we overpay. As we’ve all been chatting about here for the last several years the Lakers are, for whatever reason, reluctant to spend big on things that they can actually spend big on. It’s mind-boggling. Having said that, Messina or Hammond from the Spurs (or both) would be awesome, just don’t see it becoming reality.

        While it would be nice to see what remains of the young core return I have that pegged as ‘doubtful’ at best. Just don’t see Magic and Rob not looking to trade some of them away. Possibly just for optics, just to be seen as ‘making a move’. That may be a cynical observation but at this point that’s what it looks to me like they already did this season. I was stoked for the Bullock trade at first, now it just seems like it was done for the same reason they cut Nance: cap space. Svi wasn’t making a lot but every little corner they carve out allows them to dream that one of the elites will pull a LeBron. Kemba is the one I see as the most likely to bolt his current situation, especially if the playoff standings remain as they are. Unfortunately the Magic made the playoffs making it more likely they try and retain Nikola so the Lakers would have to show up at midnight with the best offer they have to even sniff a chance at him. Cousins is such a wild card he could decide to play in China. Brook may just say ‘no’ because he’ll play for the Clippers or whomever wants the best shooting big man in the game right now.

        Just don’t see all the kids surviving the summer in purple and gold. Hard to know how tough he thinks they are, if he’s going to keep just blowing up the team every summer around LeBron or what. Seems like, with no rudder, we’re left to the inspirational decisions of one Magic Johnson so…who knows. Hard to critique anyone looking to trade the kids, either. Ingram and Lonzo can’t stay on the floor, Kuzma is a streaky volume shooter who doesn’t do too many big man things and is a terrible small ball center. Zubac is gone, Hart is a role-player, at best, and Moe will be a 2nd year player who barely played. That’s it. Oh, and we’ll pick some dude or other this year wherever we end up in the draft…

        The only true way I see this as ever getting fixed quickly, like this summer quickly, is if Magic, Rob and Jeannie all cop to some of the blame pie (unlikely), Luke is given next season as a vote of confidence (really unlikely), and they can sign either Walker or Irving while nabbing one of Vucevic or Lopez (really, really unlikely). That is all beyond unlikely, bordering on fantasy. Just too much noise and drama surrounding a team that didn’t even sniff the playoffs this season. We were eliminated over a month ago…with LeBron James on the team.

        Of course this is all just hand-wringing and complaining on my part, I get that. Not a one of us knows how this will all actually go down and it could turn out even better than expected. I’m just not holding my breath that it will. I can tell you this much: my expectations for next season will be vastly lowered.

        • LakerTom (Publisher) 3:57 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Thanks, Jamie. The biggest reason why I think the Lakers aren’t going to trade Lonzo, Brandon, or Kuzma is their trade value right now is very depressed. Ball and Ingram are both injured and Kuzma’s value has dropped with his 3-point shooting percentage. I think that’s why Maginka will hold on to them until they at least start to play well again. If they do, they might be gone by the trade deadline. So, in my mind, a good chance that Maginka won’t trade them and get strike three. Before then, they’re likely to fire Luke and hire Kidd or Jackson for the first two strikes. Hope not but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

    • MongoSlade

      MongoSlade 2:57 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If I’m a free agent or coach looking at these 2 damaging artcles by Dave Mc and Bill Oram and also hearing all the scuttlebutt from players and agents…..how enthusiastic am I gonna be to sign here?

      • Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well)

        Jamie Sweet (Local Ne'er-Do-Well) 3:31 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Yup, just don’t see what the lure is besides the same old sunshine and market hype. Those are tired, old reasons to sign anywhere.

        Goes for players, too.

      • LakerTom (Publisher) 4:00 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        All the dysfunction aside, they’re still the Lakers and Los Angeles. Somebody will take the money. Just hoping it’s the guys who take and make lots of threes. They know they can do what LeBron needs. So Kemba and Kyrie are our best shots. Keeping my fingers crossed.

        • MongoSlade

          MongoSlade 5:43 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          This is the antiquated, arrogant mindset that has us in this pickle right now…this ain’t the Dr Buss, Jerry West, Pat Riley Lakers…this ain’t Jerry, George, & Kramer; it’s Kevin, Gene, & Feldman.

          Yea..of course somebody’s gonna take the money; but maybe not the guys we really need.

    • DJ2KB24

      DJ2KB24 4:13 PM on April 9, 2019 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Appreciate your time as well friend!

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