Last year, LeBron James didn’t play in the postseason for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and while the injuries the Los Angeles Lakers dealt with — including James’ own injury — was a big reason for that, the team’s front office also didn’t do a stellar job at surrounding him with talent.
On the night of the last game of the regular season, the head of that front office, Magic Johnson, abruptly resigned from his position as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations and didn’t give anyone a heads up — not even James, who he helped recruit in 2018.
In an effort to gain some of James’ trust back, the Lakers offered James’ former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue their vacant head coaching position. However, negotiations quickly unraveled in the public eye, and the Lakers instead hired Frank Vogel, a coach James had never worked with before.
Suffice to say, James had no shortage of reasons to be frustrated with the way the team was being managed at the time, but he stayed patient, and his patience was rewarded with Anthony Davis, a revamped coaching staff, and a roster filled with playoff-tested veterans. It took a lot of work from both sides, but James and the Lakers’ front office seem to be on great terms.
In fact, during TNT’s broadcast of Lakers-Warriors, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that James actually feels this is the most in tune he’s ever been with a team’s brass (h/t Lakers Outsiders):
“LeBron James is getting even more comfortable being a Los Angeles Laker, and he told me the connection with the front office and ownership group is the best he’s had in his NBA career”
The Lakers have always been a team that has catered to their stars, and after a rough seven years of rebuilding, it seems like they’re in their comfort zone again. Plus, their new head of basketball operations, Rob Pelinka, knows a thing or two about managing stars, having served as Kobe Bryant’s agent for the majority of his career.
It may have not always felt like it, but the more time that passes, the clearer it’s becoming that the Lakers are in good hands.
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