The past couple of days have been quite busy for the Los Angles Lakers. On Tuesday, April 9, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson resigned his post as President of Basketball Operations. On Wednesday, April 10, head trainer Marco Nunez was fired, with Nunez taking the fall after multiple players missed a combined 212 games this season due to injury. Friday, April 12 would bring news that was hardly shocking, as the worst kept secret in the NBA finally became reality, as head coach Luke Walton and the team decided to “mutually part ways” (i.e., he was fired).
That’s quite a hectic four-days. At this point the only certainty regarding the organization is that Jeanie Buss still owns the team, Rob Pelinka remains as general manager, and LeBron James is the player to whom the Lakers will look to lead them back to the playoffs, and hopefully more.
The soap opera type atmosphere that has hovered over the Lakers this season is on par with what has happened the past six seasons. Although it has been only six years since they last made the playoffs, to Lakers fans/supporters, it seems much longer. Additionally, the plethora of positions that are unoccupied, significantly important positions I might add, make the summer of 2019 extremely critical for the organization. Already facing the task of making efforts to attract an All-Star caliber free agent to join the team, they now need a new team President, head coach, and trainer. On top of the challenges posed by these pending hires, there are decisions to be made regarding a number of players whose contracts have expired. Yikes!
The sudden resignation by Magic Johnson has sent shockwaves through the league. Magic decided that he wanted to remove himself from the day-to-day operations of the team, and all the commotion that came with it. During the press conference announcing his departure, Magic referenced how he didn’t like “the backstabbing” that he was experiencing. Owner Jeanie Buss must find someone who is determined to find solutions to the various issues that must be resolved. Laker Nation is impatiently waiting and wants to see the right moves made to get the franchise back among the NBA elite and fast, as the natives are restless.
Furthermore, the hiring of the next head coach is going to be pivotal to the team’s fortunes. Now former head coach Luke Walton’s successor will be the franchise’s sixth head coach since Phil Jackson completed his second stint in the head coach’s chair. The next head coach will have to be someone who is able to satisfy the requirements of owner Jeanie Buss (after all she does sign the checks), and superstar LeBron James as well (just so happens to be the franchise’s best player). That being said, this is a decision that must be made carefully, thoughtfully, and deliberately.
Seeing the Lakers wallow in the NBA cellar is quite an unfamiliar sight. While the past couple of years have undoubtedly been difficult, they would just as soon put them in their rearview mirror, and rocket back to the top of the NBA food chain. Fans and onlookers will anxiously await the hiring of the decision maker to take the front office reins, as well as the next head coach. These hires will be crucial, as the Lakers work to get themselves back to the top of the NBA, as opposed to their current place in the NBA’s basement. The summer of 2019 will be essential to the Lakers getting back to making their news as a marquis attraction on the court, as opposed to being known more for off the court drama. Inquiring minds want to know.