After Magic Johnson decided to step down as President of Basketball Operations, the Lakers have refused to make or release any official statement regarding the direction of the front office. Since then, rumours have been swirling regarding just who is in charge of the decision-making process for the franchise. Such rumours seriously put in doubt that any particular person or persons currently in the Lakers front office are calling the shots.
The first reports were that Rob Pelinka had sucked up the power void left by Magic Johnson’s departure. Reports then surfaced about the possibility that a “shadow executive” that was currently running a team in the NBA playoffs was in the mix, secretly approving of moves made by Rob Pelinka. As the days continued, names like former showtime Laker fan favorite, Kurt Rambis, and his wife, Linda Rambis, a close confidant of Jeannie Buss, began being mentioned as having a place in the decision making of the front office.
Along with the Rambis contingent, Bill Oram tweeted that when the Lakers were conducting coaching interviews, the brass interviewing included Jeannie Buss, Kurt and Linda Rambis, Joey and Jessee Buss, and Lakers Chief Operating Officer, Tim Harris. But the names of potential decision makers didn’t end there.
Magic Johnson, despite having stepped down as President of Basketball Operations just prior to the Lakers final regular season game, stated he was still involved in influencing Laker decisions, in a TMZ interview. During said interview, he proclaimed the fact he was still actively trying to help bring the Lakers back to prominence to the point it was like he “never left” the organization. Then came Magic Johnson’s recent tweet that he and Jeannie Buss had dinner together.
After coaching candidate Monty Williams agreed to become the Phoenix Suns’ new head coach, reports began surfacing that Magic Johnson helped sway Jeanie Buss away from coaching candidate Monty Williams and towards Tyronn Lue. As if there were not already too many cooks in the kitchen, Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of The L.A. Times reported that Phil Jackson had expressed to Jeannie Buss that he supported the hiring of Tyronn Lue as the Lakers’ next head coach.
If you’re keeping count, that adds up to a group of nine different decision makers (if you don’t count the “shadow executive”) with multiple persons not even officially working with the Lakers in any official capacity, and most having major questions as to their competency to be making such decisions.
Now more than ever before the Lakers are in need of a clear, defined, stable voice to lead the way as they head into a crucial offseason where landing a top tier free agent is of paramount importance. Instead, there appears to be no more than a hodge-podge of names with no clear person or persons in charge. All of these reports seem to suggest that nobody knows who is in charge. The list of names of those influencing Lakers’ decision-making continues to grow seemingly by the day. And until the Lakers decide – if they ever will – to make a statement regarding who is in charge in the front office, we may truly never know.
By Frank Gaulden (@FrankGaulden)