Since former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson resigned, there have been damaging reports about the organization.
Outside of general manager Rob Pelinka’s appearances at the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery and head coach Frank Vogel’s introductory press conference, owner Jeanie Buss and company have stayed silent for more than a month.
As the Lakers had hoped to move past the drama-filled start to the offseason, new details are emerging about the dysfunction within the organization.
Over the past month, special projects executive director Linda Rambis has been labeled as the team’s ‘shadow owner’ which is a title a front office staffer believes she enjoys, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN:
In some circles around the NBA, Linda Rambis has been referred to as a “shadow owner” of the Lakers, a title that one front-office staffer said Rambis enjoys, noting: “She loves it,” and that “she controls and manipulates Jeanie.”
In addition, some do not fully understand why Rambis still supports Pelinka amid conflicting reports about his reputation around the league:
And Linda Rambis, team staffers said, has long been an ardent supporter and ally of Pelinka for reasons some staffers said they don’t fully understand. “Nobody gets it,” one coaching staff member said.
While Pelinka clarified the team’s front office roles since Johnson’s resignation, there are still questions about Rambis. Although Rambis is Buss’ long-time friend and has been a part of the organization, many continue to question her role in potentially being involved in basketball decisions.
In Johnson’s recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take, one fair point he did make was Buss having too many voices outside of their roles. When Johnson wanted to fire former head coach Luke Walton, Buss’ indecision and including chief operating officer Tim Harris in the meeting led to his resignation.
Outside of Rambis, there is more dysfunction as Johnson reportedly ‘used intimidation and bullying’ as a way to show his authority within the organization. Despite Johnson being gone, there are questions about Pelinka’s reputation and him running the front office now.
In a time when the Lakers have an opportunity to significantly improve the roster around LeBron James and perhaps the young core, there is instability. Despite the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and a max-contract slot, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see another All-Star player signing.