It’s been a whirlwind of a season for the Los Angeles Lakers. In many ways unprecedented certainly comes to mind. In the span of a month the Lakers fired long time GM Mitch Kupchak, fired long time Public Relations Director John Black, demoted part owner and former President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, promoted Magic Johnson from just an advisory role to President of Basketball Operations, and most recently hired former sports agent Rob Pelinka as the General Manager. To say the Lakers cleaned house is an understatement. Now the question becomes who is safe when it comes to the team and the rest of the staff. One thing is for certain Luke Walton is definitely safe.
Pelinka on Luke Walton: "We couldn't have had a better coach …Uniformly, I don't know how this is possible, but everyone loves you."
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) March 10, 2017
The Same Page
One thing that was absolutely evident in the press conference with Rob Pelinka on Friday was that the teams focus will now be in the same direction. Communication will be the most important thing among Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka, and Luke Walton. Of course there are the assistants like Jesse Buss, Joey Buss, and Ryan West. However, it was important for the top three to be on the same page. It seems that after a meeting amongst all three, Luke Walton was excited as most Laker fans are about Pelinka’s outlook on the future, and how things will be ran. (From Mark Medina of Inside Local)
“I can tell him what I’m seeing from down here. He’s going to tell me what he’s seeing and we’re going to talk about it. If it’s a basketball decision, I’ll have the ultimate say. If it’s a personnel decision, he’ll have the ultimate say. But we’re going to do that with constant conversation going on and not having to worry about hurting the other guys’ feelings if we disagree on things.”
Walton also went on to say that it’s nice to have the upper management supporting what you are doing. It seems that constant communication is going to be very important in this new regime, as it should be. As with reports before it seemed that Jim and Mitch had the final word and ran very little by the lower tiers of management as well as Jeanie (Note: Jeanie stated herself that she wanted no part of the basketball decisions until Magic came aboard).
Whether any of Walton’s words were backhanded comments towards the prior management is up to interpretation and there will likely be a Kevin Ding hit piece in the near future. What is clear, however, is that the new direction of the Lakers front office will be in one singular direction. With more reports coming out, and more fallout from the messy ending of the last regime, it’s growing more apparent that there were two different views of how things were going. For one of the greatest franchises in all of sports, this was a very bad look.
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