To address the current rumors and stories surrounding the Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher called a player-only meeting after Monday night’s game. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, “Their message was clear: Trade rumors do not matter; your feelings about management or the coaching staff don’t matter; all that matters is that the 14 men in that locker room support and believe in one another. If they stay together and stay on the same page, they can get to where they want to go as a team.”
The players want to overcome the pressure as a team, united to accomplish a goal.
Finally, we turn to management. After Kobe’s decision to call out the Laker management, new information came out as a consequence of finding out why Bryant made that address. According to CBS Sports.com’s Ken Berger, “The Lakers’ front office is an uncommunicative, rudderless fiasco, and the unrest and paranoia that have been festering for years threaten to derail the team’s plans to ride Bryant to his sixth NBA title while they still can. And much of it can be traced to the growing influence of executive vice president Jim Buss, the owner’s bon vivant son, who has helped transform a great franchise into a steaming pool of nepotism and nincompoops.”
Control of the Lakers’ organization has been turned over to Jim Buss from his father, Jerry. The tradition and culture that has been built by Jerry Buss since the 1980s is now in jeopardy. Under Jerry Buss’ helm, the Lakers became the best run front office in the league, and its on the court performance reflected Jerry’s efforts. Jim Buss has pressure from the entire Laker community and Los Angeles to continue his father’s legacy by at least performing with all his effort. So far Jim Buss’ decisions, ranging from shunning the team’s leader Kobe Bryant on basketball-related decisions to firing long-time executives and coaching staff members who were crucial to past successes, have hindered, to say the least, the Lakers’ reputation.
Pressure can bring out the best in people or the worst in people. Pressure is a constant in sports, especially at the professional level. As in every organization, there are different “departments” of the company’s structure. For the Lakers, their basic structure consist of the players, the coaching staff and the front office. Until they all perform on the same page and commit to the same purpose, pressure will win and the state of the team remains up in the air.