Call ‘em the Showtime Lakers again, not because their utter organizational collapse of this past season was fun to watch—though it was definitely fun to watch—but because they melted down with levels of violence and obscenity that belong on premium cable. Luke Walton is gone as coach, replaced with a third-choice hire, and then a fourth-choice hire for when LeBron James decides he doesn’t like the first guy. Magic Johnson is gone as team president, resigning in favor of his new job: Obvious Tweeter and Burner of Bridges. Rob Pelinka is still there. So is LeBron, and all of LeBron’s hangers-on. That feels like more than enough shit to clog the fan.
ESPN’s Baxter Holmes has a big piece this morning with a wide remit—to determine what went wrong with the Pelinka/Magic/LeBron Lakers. The short answer is: So much went wrong, and at just about everybody’s hands, that it’s impossible to construct a single narrative from it. The executives were in over their heads. The power-seekers were indulged, not quarantined. The bosses were tyrants. There were too many cooks, all acting independently of each other and making sure they were insulated from any criticisms. Everyone, at seemingly all times, did what they shouldn’t have done, and made sure there was no one around to warn them that they shouldn’t do it. It’s all, frankly, a masterpiece of organizational rot—a well-run franchise couldn’t quickly achieve this level of dysfunction if it tried.
The Lakers, if it doesn’t become clear after reading Holmes’s story, or after, uh, paying attention to the entire last season, are not a well-run franchise. At well-run franchises, things like this don’t tend to happen:
In November, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Maverick Carter, LeBron’s longtime business partner, met for lunch. James’ agent, Rich Paul, was seated at a nearby table, and at one point, approached Silver to complain about Walton, multiple sources familiar with the interaction told ESPN. Paul said he didn’t believe Walton was