Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
It’s not necessary to have an inside source in the Lakers locker room these days. Not when every intimate detail is leaked out mere moments after a team meeting has occurred. Whatever dysfunction was exposed in that meeting pails in comparison to the dysfunction of the Lakers front office.
Once the gold standard of NBA front offices the Lakers’ has dissolved into a mess of political scandal proportions.
Jim Buss is known for being as invisible around the El Segundo offices as Dwight Howard’s game in the post. Mitch Kupchak is suddenly the mouthpiece for a non-existent ownership and there is absolutely no sense of urgency being expressed to fix this disaster.
It is beyond obvious that Mike D’Antoni was the wrong hire. Not only is his system ill-fitting but his abrasive personality has rubbed the entire roster the wrong way. But since Trust Fund Buss is pot-committed with his head coach at this point no change is imminent.
So you’d think that would mean going out to acquire players to work within the coach’s style of play. That too looks unlikely to happen as the Lakers have most recently been linked to…Dante Cunningham?
Whatever script Mitch Kupchak is reading from was clearly written by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Kupchak is of the opinion that the problem isn’t the coaching. For the Lakers’ GM it boils down to the effort given.
Now if I understanding Kupchak correctly the coaching staff has no obligation to provide proper motivation for the players, only a series of Xs and Os that display a guideline for finding inspired play.
GM Mitch has been around this game too long and has worked with some of the greatest coaches of all-time to know better than to fall into this trap set by Jim Buss. But when you’re out to protect your job I guess anything that backs ownership is necessary.
Make no mistake Kupchak deserves plenty of blame himself. At no point has it appeared that the highly accomplished GM has gone out on his own to voice his true feelings. I find it very hard to believe that he is in complete agreement with many of the decisions Jim Buss has made.
Therein lies the problem.
Kupchak is the man with the basketball acumen, not Buss. Yet what makes this is a business is those with money, regardless of their hoops knowledge, are the ones that get the voice. No doubt in-fighting amongst the front office would reflect poorly on the Lakers. But that could be overlooked if things were working. Kupchak might not know this but nothing is working. At this point it looks worse to have the GM uttering the same rhetoric as ownership because it just shows how delusional the front office is as a whole.
Whatever happens in the coming weeks will reveal all we need to know about the future of the franchise. If Kupchak keeps playing the part then nothing will change. However if he stands on his own two and actually steps outside of his comfort zone real change might occur. But that would require admitting fault, something it doesn’t appear this regime has any desire to do.