Generally speaking, when news is leaked in the sports reporting world, it’s because it serves the purpose of benefitting one side of the leak. When the report comes out that anonymous former Lakers are complaining about “Winning Time,” it’s to benefit the former Lakers who clearly do not like the series. When it’s reported that LeBron and Klutch haven’t even discussed an extension with the Lakers yet, it’s to keep the pressure on the franchise heading into the offseason.
And then there are rare moments like on Wednesday when a leak appears to benefit absolutely nobody.
The Russell Westbrook trade will always be a sliding doors moment in the franchise’s history. The Lakers turned a title contender into a non-playoff team in one big swoop by trading for the enigmatic point guard. By all accounts, it was a rather horrible miscalculation of fit and talent, among other things.
It’s the type of mistake that leaves the egg on the face of everyone involved, from Rob Pelinka to Kurt Rambis to Jeanie Buss to LeBron James to Anthony Davis and many in-between. But the Lakers appear focused on shifting that blame away from them and doing so in a very self-sabotaging way.
Eric Pincus’ piece for Bleacher Report on Wednesday reported that the Lakers are pointing fingers at Kltuch Sports for pressuring them into making the trade because peer pressure is real (emphasis mine).
Upon the urging of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the franchise traded its championship depth for Russell Westbrook, yet the three stars still ended up with an extended vacation After the season concluded, Davis said he would meet with James to “reevaluate in the offseason. Upstairs, me and him, talking about the season and what we’d like to see next season.”
Ideally, their suggestions to the Lakers’ front office will be better than acquiring Westbrook.
But James certainly has a strong influence on the Lakers’ decision-making. Multiple sources indicate the team’s front office is internally blaming pressure from Klutch Sports Group (representing both James and Davis) for Westbrook.
If you’re trying to figure out who may have leaked this, then it’s obviously not going to be Klutch Sports putting blame on themselves or making them look like they have control of the franchise. So that means someone on the Lakers side leaked this for....reasons?
Ideally, they want to shift blame from themselves and onto Klutch for the deal. But they have done so by seemingly admitting they don’t control their franchise and the decision-making process? Is that the better alternative than just admitting to making a mistake, admittedly a big one, when it comes to a roster move?
And when did Klutch seemingly perform their coup to take over the franchise? Was that before or after the Lakers won a title? I’d imagine there’s some convenient timing that would come into effect there if you asked the Lakers.
This all flies in the face of what Rob Pelinka said during his exit interview in which he made it clear he was the lone decision-maker with the franchise, specifically noting that neither LeBron or AD are, even if he takes their input.
The Lakers can blame Klutch all they want, but it doesn’t stop them from coming out as losers. Ultimately, they have the final say and the deal doesn’t get done if they don’t sign off on it, no matter how much peer pressure they may have been under.
Just eat the crow and move on to try to find a way to fix the situation and quit playing the blame game through media leaks.