Report: Lakers' dysfunction includes LeBron's agent

Magic Johnson began to shed light on the dysfunction inside the Los Angeles Lakers’ organization from a management perspective, but the issues span far and wide based on an ESPN report Tuesday.
Included in the report is a claim that LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, went directly to NBA commissioner Adam Silver to lobby for head coach Luke Walton to be fired early in the season. Walton was fired at the end of the 2018-19 regular season.

Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka
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Paul told Silver, per the report, that Tyronn Lue would be the ideal coach.
Johnson said earlier this month that he knew it was time for him to resign his post as team president when authority to make personnel decisions, including firing Walton, was instead put to a collective front-office vote and Walton stayed.
Paul denied the report from ESPN, which included details of how he attended practice to “scout” players and coaches he might not want around.
“I understand my position,” Paul said. “I respect all those in our industry. At the end of the day, all I can do is continue to do a job for my client. That’s it. I can’t worry about what somebody thinks, the perception. All I can do is work hard and continue down the path that I’m on.”
Lue interviewed for the job following Walton’s dismissal, but wound up passing on a three-year offer.
The report claimed Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka were often working unilaterally, including on potential trades and in free agency.
Luke Walton
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With that structure was “created an in-house culture that many current and former longtime staffers said marginalized their colleagues, inspired fear and led to feelings of anxiety severe enough that at least two staffers suffered panic attacks. As one ex-Lakers star privately told confidants, “It’s f—-ng crazy over there.”
Johnson helped lure and sign James to a $154 million contract last July. But beyond the landmark signing, the team largely fell short in bids to bring in a second star to pair with James. Paul George re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder and overtures geared toward landing Pelicans center Anthony Davis were rebuffed by New Orleans.
Johnson and Pelinka wound up reeling in known pariah Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee to round out a roster that featured mostly young talent.
“We all had the same reaction that the basketball world did, like what the f— are we doing? Not only are we not getting shooting, but we’re also getting every basket case left on the market,” one Lakers assistant coach was quoted as saying of the roster-building confusion.
Pelinka, with input from the Buss Family and advisor Kurt Rambis, is at the controls entering the 2019 offseason but James is reportedly leading the recruitment of free agents.
Jeanie Buss, the principal owner since Dr. Jerry Buss died in 2013, said she did not expect to hire a replacement for Johnson after he resigned without informing Buss first.
“I feel like everyone that’s no longer there, as sad as it is that they’re no longer there, it’s a blessing,” one former staffer told ESPN. “It’s not a good place to be. It’s not what Dr. Buss wanted it to be.”
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)

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