Another week, another leak from the Lakers camp. For most of this dysfunctional season, Magic and his front office have battled with leak after leak. It included the first showdown between Luke and Magic, the entire Anthony Davis update embargo and many others.
But for the first time a leak comes in that seems to directly show Magic in a bad light in comparison to Luke Walton and might be the final steps towards a messy divorce between the Lakers and their head coach.
The information from unnamed source claims that Walton and his coaching staff requested Magic and Pelinka to hold on to Julius Randle and Brook Lopez, for the season in order to better compete in the loaded western conference, but the front office ignored their advise and used that money and above, to sign JaVale McGee, KCP, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley.
Magic Johnson has gone senile !! pic.twitter.com/1mOtI0yxrc
— JUSTIN (@8lakers24lyfe23) March 11, 2019
The Lakers coaching staff pushed Magic Johnson to re-sign Brook Lopez and Julius Randle instead of signing JaVale McGee, Michael Beasley, and Lance Stephenson, per The Athletic
Lopez is 12th in the league in 3PM with 158 3PM
Randle is averaging 21 PPG & 9 RPG pic.twitter.com/Rcc6wm80QX
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) March 11, 2019
JaVale McGee started off well, but that was never going to be the norm for the asthmatic big man, who has faded massively in the second half of the season.
KCP’s shooting has returned to his career average numbers and shows that last years numbers were outliers. Specifically, his 3 point shooting has gone below 35% and that has massively hurt the Lakers ability to stretch the court on offense.
Rajon Rondo seemed to be a good locker room presence at the start, but while he’s still putting up good numbers statistically, he has been an absolute horror show on defense and that has cost the Lakers a fair few games.
Lance hasn’t been as bad as some expected, but he hasn’t been much better than most expected either.
Michael Beasley fought with the head coach and is already in China playing. So you be the judge of how that went.
What have the Lakers done?
Looking at Randle, Brook Lopez, Ivica Zubac and D’Angelo Russell’s numbers have been a regular pastime for Laker fans in the recent times.
Randle, who was a RFA this summer; and the Lakers had initially extended a qualifying offer to him, signed with the New Orleans Pelicans on a 2 year – $18 million deal that allows him to become a free agent this summer. This same deal with a team option instead of player option was definitely possible for the Lakers who gave Rondo a $9 million deal for the year.
The production levels are not even close, especially given that Rondo has missed big chunks of the season, while Randle has been averaging 20+ points per game to go with 8+ rebounds and was capable of playing small ball center, that Lakers are missing this season.
Brook Lopez has been improving his outside shot every season. Last season with the Lakers he shot 34% on his 3s, which are great numbers for a 7 foot center and with LeBron coming in, those numbers would only have gotten better.
But he now plays on the Bucks on a minimum contract and has been shooting 35.5% from the distance, while attempting close to 7.5 3s a game. Those are historic numbers even in today’s unicorn league. His play has unlocked the Bucks and is one of the main reasons for their drastic improvement this season.
His minimum deal with the Bucks means his cap hit is $3.3 million. That’s lesser than Beasley’s deal of $3.5 million and Beasley never even played for a decent stretch of time despite being healthy.
— New York Post (@nypost) March 12, 2019
While there is no guarantee Randle and Lopez would’ve fixed everything that is wrong with the team, they definitely would have addressed pressing needs on the roster. Instead Lakers are back chasing the lottery balls.
The leak is a shrewd move from Luke’s camp as this releases some pressure off of him and further vilifies a front office that has been mocked ever since the meme team was formed. With a hunt for new job on the horizon for Luke, he needed to come out of this looking better than the being the coach who couldn’t get LeBron James to the playoffs.
What it says about the messy nature of divorce we are going to see in the summer between the front office and coaching staff, is another matter. Whatever the nature of it though, its bound to be an enjoyable spectacle. Unless you are a Laker fan. In that case I welcome you to join my Disgruntled Laker Fans club.