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Alexander: Lakers GM Rob Pelinka tries to stay above the fray

first_img Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“So her love for those people and respect for those people often caused us to not make the right choice, or (else) there’s no decision. And so I said, ‘Listen, you can’t run a corporation like this. You can’t have everybody think they can have a voice or an opinion about the final decision.’“Too many people have too many opinions and too much power.”If Magic is to be believed – and I don’t disbelieve him – the situation is even worse than we thought. Not only do the Rambises, Linda and Kurt, have major influence, and not only is Phil Jackson, Jeanie’s former fiancé, still providing counsel, but Magic asserted that Jeanie’s younger brothers, Joey and Jesse (the VP of research and development and assistant GM/scouting director, respectively), were angling for more power. And Tim Harris, the president of business operations, seems to be weighing in on basketball matters as well.Johnson described the process toward the end of his tenure as Lakers president, when he’d decided to fire Luke Walton as coach.“We had three meetings,” he said. “I showed her the things he did well and the things he didn’t do well and said, ‘Listen, we gotta get a better coach.’ Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs center_img And then he noted that “Linda Rambis is an incredibly trusted colleague and partner for all the employees at the Lakers.” Translation: Jeanie’s friend and Kurt’s wife will still have a strong voice, and in all likelihood, little will change.A critical summer, with the No. 4 pick in the draft and enough salary cap room for a max contract, could turn on what free agents think of the organization. The reports of organizational chaos and the GM’s reputation for trustworthiness will be weighed, and Magic burning the house down Monday certainly wasn’t helpful.“We know who we are,” Pelinka argued. “We know the characteristics and qualities we stand for. We know as a staff and feel very strongly that if people judge and evaluate us for who we are as an organization and the vision and the path going forward, we feel it’ll be a very, very strong appeal for the great players to come here.”Either that or they’d better hope that LeBron James is still a world-class closer off the court, [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter “… The first day it was, ‘Let’s think about it.’ The second day it was, ‘OK, you can fire him.’ The third day: ‘Um, we should try to work it out.’ So we went back and forth like that, and then she brought Tim Harris into the meeting. Tim wanted to keep him because he was friends with him. … I looked up and said, ‘Wait a minute. I only answer to Jeanie Buss. Now I got Tim involved.’ And I said it’s time for me to go.’ I got things being said behind my back. I don’t have the power I thought I had to make the decisions.”So Magic stepped away, and a couple of days later Walton was fired anyway.What was supposed to be Vogel’s introduction to L.A. on Monday turned into a rare opportunity to grill Pelinka, given the silence of others in management since season’s end. To his credit, he answered the questions sincerely, if sometimes disingenuously.“I collaborate with the staff, many of whom are at this press conference today,” Pelinka said when asked if the decision-making process had changed. “Then I make a recommendation to Jeanie, and she blesses that or not. So it’s very clear and very simple.”Related Articles EL SEGUNDO — Who would have been willing to bet, at mid-morning Monday, that Rob Pelinka would actually show his face at the 11 a.m. news conference to introduce new Lakers coach Frank Vogel?Give him credit, regardless of what you think of his ability as a general manager. Pelinka showed up and did not shrink from the questions, a large number of them referencing Magic Johnson’s scorched-earth appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday morning, when he accused Pelinka of backstabbing and outlined what many of us have suspected all along – with so many voices trying to influence controlling owner Jeanie Buss, nothing gets done.The quotes about Pelinka – sample: “When I took the job, you know how many agents called me and said, ‘You gotta watch out for him?’” – were the juicy stuff and got most of the attention. But Magic’s observations about the cacophony at the conference table cut to the heart of the problem, possibly the biggest obstacle between the organization and its presumed return to greatness.“It’s too many people at the table,” Johnson said. “So what happens is, everybody gets to share their opinion, and there’s so much information coming at her that when I say, ‘Hey, we gotta do this,’ she can’t make a decision because they said, ‘No, don’t go the way Magic goes, you gotta go left instead of going right.’ Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers last_img

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