On the same day that former president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was making media rounds, the Los Angeles Lakers themselves had their own important things to focus on. The team formally announced new head coach Frank Vogel, replacing former head coach Luke Walton.
The process of landing on Vogel was one that did not paint the Lakers in the best picture, only adding to the negative image that was heightened when Johnson stepped down suddenly before the team’s last game of the 2018-19 NBA season.
Johnson taking his first interview on the day of Vogel’s introductory press conference was surely a coincidence, but while the former was airing out his grievances that he dealt with during his time in the front office, the latter was preaching the need to come together within the organization.
“We need to build togetherness within our organization. I just don’t mean with the 15 guys or 17 guys that are going to be in uniform or in that locker room. I’m talking about organizational togetherness,” Vogel said as part of his opening statement.
“Starting with ownership to the front office to the coaching staff, the players, the trainers, the business side. We’re all going to pull in the same direction.”
The exact makeup of the team’s front office has come into question recently, but the more important thing for the Lakers is everyone within it being on the same page. The league’s most successful organizations right now such as the San Antonio Spurs are all on one accord from the owner to the general manager and down to the head coach.
Year 1 with LeBron James was one where there seemed to be a lot of separation within the organization. Aside from the issues Johnson spoke about between himself and general manager Rob Pelinka, there were also issues within the roster as young players struggled with trade rumors and whether James was pushing for the Anthony Davis trade.
Nonetheless, that is all in the past and Vogel and the rest of the Lakers must focus on the present and future. The team has the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and whether they decide to trade or keep the pick, it will play a big role in the makeup of next season’s roster. Additionally, free agency will be watched closely as the Lakers will continue to try and add another All-Star player next to James.
Of course, if there is dissension within the Lakers, the team will never reach the goals it has set. Vogel experienced that ideal situation with the Indiana Pacers and now that he has James on his side, he wants that same cohesion within this Lakers organization that will ultimately lead them to a championship.