The Boston Celtics were just eliminated in five games by Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, surely jump starting Kyrie Irving's (inevitable?) departure from the C's. KD went down with a right calf injury and the Golden State Warriors took a 3-2 lead over the Houston Rockets despite 31 points from (MVP) James Harden. I've made my return to blogging. The playoffs are in full swing, but somehow the Lakers are still finding ways to take up airwaves. Seriously, I can't think of a worse team to garner so much media attention. They're not even in the playoffs and still finding ways to be speculated about; it's a lot different than last season, though. About a year ago everyone was talking about the almost-certain departure of LeBron James from the Cavs in favor of the Lakers; now, it's all about the disfunction surrounding him and the team that has failed (so far) at living up to The King's expectations.
When former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson suddenly stepped down before the last game of the season, it caught many off-guard but delivered a sense of relief, especially to Lakers' fans, due to Magic's lack of competency when it came to running the team. Before he quit, it was widely speculated that Magic and general manager Rob Pelinka were prepared to relieve head coach Luke Walton of his duties following the end of the season. There was constant reporting about LeBron and the front office's questioning of Walton's ability to assist in leading the team to the promised land but Magic's resignation only delivered more uncertainty. Qualms surrounding Walton's job were relieved when the Lakers announced that they and Walton "mutually agreed to part ways"; Walton signed a four-year deal with the Sacramento Kings shortly after his departure from LA. No way Walton to the Kings wasn't being planned behind-the-scenes for weeks. He was probably pumped to get out of LA; Sacramento (might) have a brighter future (?).
Jump to present day... the Lakers have yet to replace Walton. The favorite to take over was former Cavs coach Ty Lue, the only man to coach a LeBron-led Cleveland team to a Finals victory. It seemed like the perfect fit, mainly because it seems as if he's one of the only coaches that would be able to please LeBron. Lue also won two championships as a player for the Lakers in 2000 and 2001. One of the biggest aspects to coaching LeBron is keeping him at ease because being the shark he is, once he smells fear in the water it could spell game over. "Get out my ocean, son." For a while it seemed as if negotiations were moving in the right direction to secure Lue as the next Lakers' coach; he even had a Lakers birthday cake!
Per usual, that all crashed and burned in true Lakers fashion yesterday. Reports started flowing in that talks between the Lakers and Lue, which were expected to be finalized within a few days, had fallen apart; Lue would not become LA's coach. Lue wanted former Pacers' HC Frank Vogel as his top assistant, an idea that made perfect sense. Vogel is a great defensive coach, proven by his time in Indiana when his teams would challenge LeBron and The Big 3's Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Rumors also leaked that LeBron's camp reached out to Tom Thibodeau to gauge his interest in joining Lue's staff, another great defensive strategist and former Coach of the Year with the Bulls. The Lakers' pushing the idea of Jason Kidd as Lue's top assistant wained Lue's interest, as it should; Kidd hasn't proven that he's a winning coach and has had multiple blunders throughout his coaching career. The concept of him working alongside Lonzo Ball is intriguing, but it's not worth giving him any decision making when it comes to game-planning or the playbook. The Lakers' brass seems to be semi-obsessed with Kidd which makes me super nervous for their future because it only leads me to believe that they're not going to make the right decision when picking their next coach. Talks also broke down because LA only offered Lue three-years/$18 million when he was seeking a five-year deal. They know they can fire him if things go poorly, right? And it's the Lakers for fuck's sake, they have exorbitant amounts of money, what are they worried about? They gave Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng a combined $144 million, they don't care!
LeBron obviously wanted Ty Lue to be the next coach. I'm sure the Lakers were quite aware of that yet they decided to go in a completely different direction. It's about the be Year 16 for LeBron, the window is starting to close. When you have the best player ever on your team, you do whatever it takes to appease him and going after coaching candidates like Jason Kidd is the absolute wrong move. I want LeBron to win a ring in purple and gold but with all these bone-headed decisions from the front office, I'm starting to think it might not be possible.