A figure that has long been around the Lakers in multiple capacities, Judy Seto was reportedly not retained by the team on Wednesday, according to multiple sources. The news comes in the wake of a season riddled with injuries and, as has become a bit of an unfortunate tradition with the Lakers, the front office has repeatedly removed those in charge of the training staff.
Can confirm @DanWoikeSports report that Lakers did not renew contract of director of sports science Judy Seto. Roger Sancho remains head trainer.— Bill Oram (@billoram) April 27, 2022
This is the third time in four seasons that Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis' front office has fired the person at the top of their training staff: Marco Nuñez (2019) and Nina Hsieh (2021) are the others. https://t.co/FTjwvSZK7L— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) April 27, 2022
Seto was brought back to the team in 2019 in the role she held prior to being let go. That came after a three-year hiatus after the Lakers opted not to bring her back in 2016. From 2011 until 2016, she served as a physical therapist and prior to that, she worked very closely with Kobe Bryant. Because of her connection with Bryant, she has been associated with the Lakers franchise for roughly three decades.
To go along with the report from the LA Times, Seto has been removed from the team’s official website as well.
According to Woike’s report, the team will not be filling her role of director of sports performance and, instead, the recently-hired Roger Sancho, who was brought in last season, will continue to lead that department as he did last season.
The Lakers have made a tradition of parting ways with high-ranking training staff members. In 2019 after an injury-riddled season, the Lakers parted ways with athletic trainer Marco Nunez and last year, the team let go of athletic trainer Nina Hsieh after that season was marred by injuries.
It’s a bit of a silly trend to repeatedly part ways with a training staff after a season with multiple injuries, especially when those injuries aren’t preventable. But the Lakers have erred on the side of scapegoats — ask Frank Vogel — and the training staff has repeatedly bore the brunt of that decision.
Sancho, who was hired prior to this past season, will now be the top-ranking member of the training staff moving forward. For his sake as well as the sake of fans, let’s hope future seasons won’t have the same injury problems.