The Los Angeles Lakers have a long, well-respected history, one filled with a wall of championship trophies, a who’s who list of hall of famers and lots of bragging rights as the second all-time winningest active team in the league — their 59.6% franchise winning percentage trails only the ever reliable San Antonio Spurs.
The most modern versions of the Lakers, from the players to the front office, however, deserve to be excluded from the illustrious days of yesteryear. Quite possibly, an asterisk needs to be placed next to their editions in the record books. Los Angeles should in fact be thoroughly admonished for recent failures, awful decision-making and slew of bad judgment calls — and the pitiful displays do not appear of stopping any time soon.
As the Los Angeles Lakers pursue New Orleans Pelicans All-NBA center Anthony Davis ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, the initial offers have been underwhelming, including the Lakers’ first offer of Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first-round pick, league sources told ESPN.
The Lakers have limited offers to two of the franchise’s top young players in every proposal, and resisted including more than a single first-round pick in offers, league sources said.
The Lakers have not made the playoffs since the 2012-13 season and they’ve posted a laughable 153-309 record since. That amounts to not winning even a third of their games for the past five and a half years. Their season streak of missing the playoffs is in danger of stretching to six as they’re currently sitting outside of the playoff bubble out West. The longest such streak in their team history prior to this one was two seasons (1974-76).
No surprise, owner Jeanie Buss has been desperate for some time to get Los Angeles back on a path similar to what her father commonly walked through the streets of the league. In late February of 2017, she hired Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations and said, “Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect.”
Soon thereafter, Magic hired Rob Pelinka to be the new general manager and the former high-powered agent delivered the following statement:
”The Lakers are a gold standard for sports franchises in the world, so we all share a responsibility to pursue excellence in everything we do. Excellence is what the Lakers stands for, what Jeanie Buss and Earvin Johnson embody, and what coach (Luke) Walton demands from our players. That obsession for greatness is what will bring Lakers basketball back to a championship level. With Jeanie and Magic guiding the vision, I am thrilled to help architect the future.”
The assembled braintrust of Jeanie, Magic and Rob, apparently on some dark night, decided to sell their souls and entrust Rich Paul and his web of cohorts and clients. The vision entailed of placing all the faith in LeBron James and his representation, Klutch Sports, over last summer. Adding the greatest player in the game — despite the golden years fast approaching, would jumpstart the Lakers, shine a bat signal into the NBA night and lure the necessary star power that which Paul did not control.
Paul George quickly passed on this “dream”, despite growing up in Cali and once idolizing Kobe Bryant and rooting for the Lakers.
The Spurs wanted no part in helping rebuild the Lakers on the fly and word is Kawhi Leonard, who will be a free agent in five months time, prefers to brave the cold winters of Canada or play for the Clippers than ever be the second fiddle to LeBron.
A few months ago, Kevin Durant called the environment toxic around James — it’s not hard to infer he certainly isn’t planning on packing his bags and joining The King.
So, Magic and Rob, after shooting their wad of free agent money at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee, are in a dire situation and probably don’t sleep well at night after every game D’Angelo Russell goes off and leads the Nets to another victory. The Lakers are at best a mediocre team in the Western Conference, LeBron James’ body is beginning to break down from the years of accumulated mileage and now all hope lies with Rich Paul.
Surely, this powerful agent will be able whisk Anthony Davis, his best available pawn, out of New Orleans and to Los Angeles, right? I mean, he even has a father out there trying to help the cause like a good soldier.
Sorry, but I can’t even say good luck with a straight face.
Klutch Sports and the Lakers shot a brown bag of poop (Rondo, Ball, Kuzma, Beasley and one future draft pick) as their opening salvo for perhaps the best available trade asset of all time — although they tried to cover up their mistake by making it sound like all of the quality pieces were offered from the start!!! And then y’all had the nerve to say Dell Demps and the Pelicans were not taking any trade calls on Anthony Davis???
The Lakers have decided to be that 45-pound kid trying to win an arm wrestling contest against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The Pelicans have no time to waste holding the hands of insolent children. The Lakers-LeBron-Paul connection would have better odds of going back to James Jones and asking he waive another useful player like Tyson Chandler, or checking under another tampering-filled rock.
Honestly, though, the current Lakers have taken the cake for the worst amateur hour performance yet. They are downright shitting on all that was once accomplished in a storied history, pissing on all the glory years and throwing their support behind a man sitting outside of the organization — and Rich Paul has brought a knife to a gunfight.
Even former Laker-great Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t sit on L.A.’s side as he thinks Anthony Davis should stay in New Orleans and have LeBron James join him in the Crescent city.
But as we’ve sadly learned over the years, Davis doesn’t possess the kind of backbone to want to see something like this through. That’s why he joined Klutch Sports. That’s why AD’s father has gone public with his comments in trashing other possible destinations. That’s why the “most dominant player in the game today” wants to dart to Los Angeles this very minute.
...As a funny aside, Rajon, you went to L.A. for this instead of writing that final chapter in New Orleans — which had gotten off to such a great read and one that could have actually wrapped up your career on a high note...
The Pelicans undoubtedly made a ton of mistakes while Anthony Davis was under contract, and many of them deserve ridicule, but can we all spend just a few minutes talking about how ridiculous and inept the Lakers have been in trying to climb back into the upper echelons of the NBA?