In 2016, a video emerged from a young player’s phone of a certain teammate saying very compromising things while being recorded. Even though it was not the recorders intention, it blew up in ways he did not anticipate. In fact, he was treated with open animosity. Instead of trading the player that said the comments, the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson decided it would be best to trade the recent 2nd overall pick PG D’Angelo Russell, and hope to retain SF Nick “Swaggy P” Young. So, in a draft where the Lakers were devoid of picks, the LA Lakers traded their second year, starting point guard and center Timofey Mozgov for Brooklyn’s starting center Brook Lopez and the 27th overall pick in the draft.
At the time, many (including myself) not only lamented the stupidity of the trade, but at the low quality return. Brook Lopez was an expiring contract on an aging center. The 27th pick was in a class that many at the time viewed as talent poor. Worst of all, they were giving up their starting point guard that even their PoBO said had “All-Star potential” to appease the older, locker-room cancer that is Nick Young. He did not even resign with the Lakers, and is now out of the league. Brooke Lopez did not resign with the Lakers after his contract was up, and is now one of the best players on the league’s best team this year (the Milwaukee Bucks). That 27th pick turned into the late round gem that is Kyle Kuzma, a semi-traditional stretch 4 that can’t play the 3, the 5, or defense.
If you reached this part without getting the gist of what I am trying to imply, let me extrapolate this out further with maybe a more recent, non-draft example…
In a recently released interview from the Ringer (which undoubtedly led to the parting of ways), LeBron James revealed that him and Magic had a view for the future that didn’t match. While Magic said he did not want another hero-ball/iso situation, LeBron (correctly) pointed out that that version had led him to 8 straight championship appearances. Even though they differed and argued about it heavily, LeBron consented to Magic’s view…the same view that led to the following list of ‘accomplishments’:
– the trading of now All-Star D’Angelo Russell
– the letting go of former All-Star Brook Lopez
– the drafting of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and other rejects
– the signing of the ‘Meme Team’ this past offseason
– the inability to acquire (through trade) Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, or Anthony Davis
– the inability to sign in the free agency Paul George or another All-Star
– the horrible coaching hires
– the ability to keep LeBron happy
However, this is not on Magic’s plate according to him. I (like many others inside and outside the league) believe that Jeanie Buss is an incompetent owner. In fact, I would go as far to say that the issues plaguing the Lakers are not Rob Pelinka, Magic Johnson, Luke Walton, or LeBron’s fault. I mean, anyone that quits and doesn’t tell their boss must either truly hate or fear their boss, and I do not believe Magic is a fearful man. Jeanie Buss has shown her inability to manage a team from the outset, hiring coaches and staff that are inept. Multiple people believe she was the one infatuated with Lonzo, and envisioned him being on the team like Lonzo’s delusional father.
I cannot say for certain who is to blame for the Lakers current state, but it clearly shows their odds of being able to do anything significant in the near future as being minimal at best. I hope that Magic moves on to greener pastures as the Lakers waste LeBron’s prime with the hot garbage that surrounds him currently.