Opinion: Lakers’ organization resembles clown car, not storied franchise that attracted LeBron James

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SportsPulse: The second round is underway, and USA TODAY Sports’ Martin Rogers breaks down the key matchups in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Lakers have earned the nickname The Big Top from other teams. It’s a circus in La La Land.

Chaos within the organization reached another embarrassing level with the hiring process for a new coach as those near and dear to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss continue to fail her. And with each wrong move, the team risks alienating LeBron James.

It’s a strange time when the Phoenix Suns, usually mired in dysfunction, nail their coaching hire, and the Lakers look like a clown show.

The warnings came from Los Angeles and far from Laker Land. Pleas were public and private, imploring Buss to stop treating the storied franchise like a mom-and-pop shop. It hasn’t happened.

Los Angeles botched the Ty Lue hire – whom many believed would be a good fit for James because of their championship history – and it doesn’t matter what side decided to push back from the table after they couldn’t come to terms on a contract. While both parties have moved on for now, they could always re-engage. 

Though Rob Pelinka is the general manager, Kurt Rambis, who played nine seasons in two stints for the Lakers and served as Phil Jackson’s assistant, was hired as a senior basketball advisor before the start of the 2018-19 season. Rambis has emerged as an influential figure in front-office decisions, according to ESPN.

His wife, Linda Rambis, is a long-time close friend of Buss and works for the Lakers as the executive director of special projects. Linda and Kurt have been involved in the interview process.

So who’s in charge? Pelinka, who was Lakers great Kobe Bryant’s agent before moving to the team side of basketball operations? The Rambii? Neither Pelinka nor Kurt have extensive front-office experience, and there are some around the league stunned that Kurt has obtained this much power.

What is clear? There is no obvious line of authority, and there is a fight to convince Buss what is right for the franchise.

Magic Johnson didn’t work out. Pelinka isn’t distinguishing himself. They crafted a flawed roster, butchered the Anthony Davis trade situation and fueled the chaos. Buss’ struggles to bring back Lakers glory has been far more difficult than she probably anticipated.

Say what you will about Lue, but he is a champions

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