LAL

A week away from the NBA Trade Deadline, many eyes will be on the Los Angeles Lakers. Logic points to the Lakers being sellers at the deadline, but as we have witnessed over the past few seasons, the purple and gold have not necessarily done what is logical, instead opting for pride over reason.

At 13-40, the Lakers are the second worst team in the Western Conference (only behind the 11-42 Timberwolves). In recent weeks, the Knicks and Sixers have done enough to inch closer to surpassing the Lakers in the standings, putting smiles on the ever-growing Team Tank.

If that is not enough, the Lakers are also on pace to lose 50+ games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history. Regardless if you’re rooting for the Lakers to win or lose their remaining games, there is one thing that is certain…

It is time for the Lakers to admit failure in their franchise operations.

Pointing to the 16 championship banners, retired numbers, and memories of the past gives fans that fuzzy feeling inside but none of that helps the Lakers now or in the future.

Even before the passing of the late Dr. Jerry Buss, the mindset within the organization has been to recreate the “Show Time” era that provided not only entertainment, but also championship basketball.

Attempting to recreate that era is not a problem and we can all agree it would be fun to see again, but sometimes the past, should be left just where it’s at…. the past.

Everyone in the Lakers organization deserves blame. From Jim Buss to Mitch Kupchak to Jeanie Buss.

Unfortunately for Jim and Jeanie, they have one of, if not the most difficult act to follow in their father who just happened to be the greatest owner in sports, but that does not excuse recent decisions that has put the once prideful franchise in the basement of the NBA.

Instead of finding new ways to build up the franchise again, they continue to be a car stuck in the mud, stepping on the accelerator, spinning their wheels, and refusing to get out and push.

Buss Family

The all or nothing strategy that made the Lakers a legendary franchise is ironically the strategy that is killing them slowly. Now is not the time for arrogance or foolish hope, but instead it is time for the Lakers to be smart and creative in their dealings in the NBA.

The Lakers will never publicly admit tanking. For the Buss Family, it is not in their DNA and that is understandable. I do not believe management is blind to the Lakers current state but actually correcting the problem has yet to be done.

But maybe admitting failure and throwing in the towel on this season is and would be the first step in getting fans on board again, gaining some version of confidence that shows the fan base and pundits responsibility is being taken for decisions made, instead of allowing other individuals to shoulder the blame (D’Antoni, Scott, Kobe, etc.)

Magic Johnson shared those same sentiments in his interview with ESPN’s First Take (video at the bottom of page).

Now I don’t believe Magic should be openly criticizing Jim Buss like he has done, when he himself has been unreasonable and hypocritical in his opinions about the Lakers in recent seasons, but many of his views on Jim Buss should be eye openers. Whether the statements are true remains to be seen but at the very least does make you question what exactly is going on at the top.

The main reasons to watch this season was because of the return of Kobe Bryant and the rookie season of first-round pick Julius Randle, but again it was injuries that put them out of action until next season.

Sure they gambled and lost on Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, but more concerning is the alternative plans they put into action almost as if arrogance resulted in the belief that everything would work out for the best.

The rosters from the last two seasons can best be described as a band-aid on a wound that needs immediate medical attention. Kobe’s contract was questioned from the day it was announced, but the narrative put out was it would not hinder future transactions in building a competitive team… that has been false up to this point.

Again regardless of feelings about players, coaches, etc. this ultimately falls on management.

In fact, Jim Buss has stated he will step down within five years if things don’t get better.

Well he might as well start packing his bags because things have gotten considerably worse, leaving fans doubting if the Lakers will ever recover under his direction.

Will a top-five draft pick change the franchise’s fortunes? Will there be an actual plan B in place if the Lakers strike out in free agency for the third straight summer? Is there even a plan for a post-Kobe era?

These questions will be answered in the coming months and seasons, but I’m afraid to say, unless a couple successful summers happen in Los Angeles, the Lakers are years away from any type of competency.

 


Interview w/ Magic Johnson on First Take

About The Author

Editor-in-chief

Johnny Navarrette is the Editor-in-Chief of Game 7 Network. His past experience includes, but is not limited to, senior editor & lead writer at LakerNation.com, staff writer for the Drew League in the summer of 2014, and currently works for the OC Register's high school sports section, OC Varsity. He is a graduate of Cal State University, Fullerton, earning his B.A. in Communications.

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