NBA / magic johnson
Pelinka Ducks Questions While Frank Vogel Projects Image Of Competence In Intro Presser.
Rob Pelinka and Frank Vogel sauntered up to the press conference table to the sounds of virtual silence. No camera clicks, nor any reporters mumbling under their breath to each other could be picked up by the Spectrum TV cameras. This was the first time the media or the general public had seen an appearance by any representative of the Lakers organization since exit interviews in the middle of April. A lot has gone down in this circus of an early off-season, and the hours leading up to the meeting were no different. On ESPN's First Take, former Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson flat out blasted Rob Pelinka and the Lakers organizational power structure in a conversation with Stephen A. Smith, Molly Qerim, and Max Kellerman. He shed light on the undeserved weight of non-basketball voices in the organization, such as that of Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris, and identified Rob as a "backstabber" whose behavior contributed to Magic quitting his job within the organization. Tim Harris apparently prevented Magic from firing Luke Walton, leading Magic to wonder how much power he actually had as President of Basketball Operations. Just to note, Tim Harris isn't even a basketball guy, he's more in charge of the Lakers business affairs. Unfortunately, he decided to meddle outside of his department here, and Jeanie didn't do anything to stop him. This was the firestorm of media rhetoric that Vogel and Pelinka were walking into, a mere few hours removed. See the video in all its inflammatory glory below. Despite that hindrance, Rob Pelinka dodged the opportunity of offering any concrete answers to the Magic debacle and Frank Vogel said every right word for an incoming coach. Vogel started his opening remarks by preaching accountability, and shortly after acknowledging the need to adapt to the changing tenets of the game. Namely, understanding the ins and outs of switching on defense, spacing the floor and the three ball in the modern era. It was something that should go without saying for any competent franchise, but for a Lakers team that's been stuck in their old ways to the detriment of their organization, Vogel's proclamations were a breath of fresh air. After Vogel's opening remarks and first couple questions, then came the questions that we all knew were headed for Rob Pelinka. When the first reporter brought up the Magic Johnson First Take interview, Rob flat out denied any assertion that Magic and he had a strained relationship. He said working with Magic for those two years were some of the best years he's had in basketball. If Rob Pelinka never divulged information about he and Magic's dynamic, why would we expect him to do it now while the block was so hot? Still, the question had to be asked. I just wish the reporters had a chance to ask follow-up questions regarding the power structure. Pelinka got off pretty easily thanks to the matter at hand of introducing their new head coach Frank Vogel. It wasn't the only pertinent question that Rob dodged today. When given the opportunity to elaborate on Kurt or Linda Rambis' role in separate questions, he opted to list their positions and years of experience in the league, in an effort to build credibility. The problem is, every media member and fan can see right through that retort. By not diving into their scope of power and/or concrete responsibilities within the organization, Rob's answer only creates more questions about the Rambis couple in the end. All in all, we shouldn't be surprised with the path Rob took with his response though. This is the organization that has gone radio silent amid a one-month period of reported chaos - and their freakin' season has been over for a month! Despite the heavy question marks that linger with Rob, Rambis, Jeanie, and now COO Tim Harris, you couldn't help but feel alright about the way Frank conducted himself in his intro presser. Yes, Ty Lue still would've been a better choice thanks to his accomplishments and guaranteed rapport with LeBron, but Frank projected an image of accountability and open-mindedness to modernization that has been lacking in the franchise for almost a decade. Hopefully, Frank has the humility and self-awareness to bring on other assistants that fill in for his lack of offensive prowess. As Vogel said himself to wrap up his introductory presser, the way to quiet the negative noise surrounding the franchise is to "Just win". It worked for a while during the Kobe/Shaq era, and if they manage to bag a star free agent it may just work again. Despite the shit show at the top, having LeBron James, a high-ceiling young core, cap space, and a #4 pick in the upcoming draft is not the worst position to be in. Let's see if the Lakers hold the course with their pieces or cash them in a trade.