Bryant Worried About Lakers Front Office?
But (Mitch) Kupchak was not the intended target of (Kobe) Bryant’s profanity-laced screed Sunday night in Phoenix, when he said of trading (Pau) Gasol, “If they’re going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they’re not going to do it, come out and say you’re not going to do it.”
As a practical matter, this can’t be done; the Magic have stated publicly they’re not trading Dwight Howard, and that hasn’t stopped the maelstrom, hasn’t stopped the offers from rolling in. But the real motivation behind Bryant going public was to shed light on the dysfunctional, borderline comical way the Lakers are handling their basketball business and hope it prompts someone to fix it.
So here it is: The Lakers’ front office is an uncommunicative, rudderless fiasco, and the unrest and paranoia that have been festering for years threaten to derail the team’s plans to ride Bryant to his sixth NBA title while they still can. And much of it can be traced to the growing influence of executive vice president Jim Buss, the owner’s bon vivant son, who has helped transform a great franchise into a steaming pool of nepotism and nincompoops.
In the months leading up to the lockout, the Lakers got rid of assistant general manager Ronnie Lester and most of his scouts. Rudy Garciduenas, the equipment manager for nearly 30 years, was let go. Alex McKechie, a renowned sports science expert, was told to pack up and was quickly scooped up by the Raptors. International scout Adam Fillippi wound up with the Bobcats.