The other night LeBron James passed Michael Jordan on the all time NBA scoring list. Good for him. This is a humongous achievement. James has earned it. He is one of the greats, no questions asked. But, when my watch and phone kept popping off about this, I naturally assumed that the Lakers had won their game against the Nuggets, and maybe they were actually going to make that push to get the 8th seed in the West.
That was not the case.
While all ESPN and Bleacher Report could talk about was LeBron's achievement, the Lakers were in the midst of losing by almost 20, and dropping their third straight game, and dropping 6 games below .500. They have been in a freefall since LeBron "activated playoff mode". They are very far out from the 8 seed now, with only 17 games left. They need so much help, and if they were to get the 8 seed, they would get swept out of the first round, and possibly cripple their chance to get AD this summer.
But, all of this preamble is just to say that there is a lot of blame to go around the whole Lakers organization for how poorly this season has played out. But, the most blame belongs to 4 people. We have LeBron, Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka and Jeanie Buss. Jeanie Buss is trying to play it off like she had nothing to do with the players they signed, saying that management is to solely blame. Well, you are the owner. You hired these 2 guys to run the team. You gave them the keys to the car. You have to take some of the blame. Some of this falls in your lap. You cannot just get off scott free because you are only the owner. Some of the decisions you have made lately have hurt this franchise.
Now, lets look at why I think Pelinka and Johnson are to blame. These 2 had zero history in running a basketball team. They have never had this type of power. Magic is a hall of fame player, a bad coach and a horrible talk show host. What he did best was play basketball. That doesn't mean he can run a team. He proved that with his piss poor coaching, and now he is proving that with how he signs players. And all of the tampering, which I really don't care that much about, he has got to stop being so blatant about it. Don't go on talk shows and wink when talking about soon to be free agents. Don't go on ESPN and openly pine for AD. Just stop. With Pelinka, he was good at being a sub with the Fab Five at Michigan. He was even better as an agent. But, again with the picking of players, he has been atrocious. Why did he think it was cool to go out and sign all these odd vets to one year deals? Did he really think this would work? Did he think LeBron could literally drag a group of guys 20 and under, and washed up vets to the playoffs in the West? Come on man. That is preposterous. That is nonsense. I mean, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, Michale Beaseley and Rajon Rondo were your answers to surround LeBron with? That is so stupid. They should have just kept Julius Randle and D'Angelo Russell. They would be so much better off with the young guys and LeBron. They would have been more fun.
Finally, we have LeBron. I think he deserves the least blame, but he still deserves some simply for the whole handling of the AD trade saga. He let his buddy Rich Paul try to force 2 teams hand, and it backfired in hilarious fashion. LeBron, who has always been a GM and player wherever he has played, also made it so widely known how much he yearned to play with AD. I'm positive he told Magic and Pelinka to offer the farm. He didn't want to have happen happen. He didn't want Rich Paul to fail. He didn't want to fail, and he wanted to get AD. Well, the Pelicans didn't flinch, and it all blew up in their face. Also, LeBron is still hurt, looks disengaged, doesn't try on defense and only seems to expend any effort on offense. He has packed it in. He has suffered the longest injury of his career, and he has let his effect his play. He also didn't get what he wanted at the deadline, and he has openly pouted. All of this has led to the team he is supposed to be leading having another bad year.
The Lakers are going to miss the playoffs. They are going to fire the head coach. They are going to lose a ton of young talent, and they are going to have to start all over again, letting 2 guys that have no idea what they are doing, an owner that doesn't want to take any heat and a 35 year old star player running the team. This will only get worse before it gets better. I don't even think AD will help much, if they get him this summer. I didn't like this move for LeBron from a basketball standpoint, and, at least this season, is making me look right.
While I enjoy seeing the Lakers struggle, I don't like seeing how bad they have been lately. They are a mess, and there is a good amount of blame to be spread out amongst the 4 people I mentioned. I'm very curious to see what they do this summer, and since they won't be making the playoffs, the summer will be here much sooner than LeBron is used to. That is weird.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on the internet.
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