Following the 2018-19 NBA season, it is no secret the Los Angeles Lakers have an extremely important offseason ahead of them.
After landing LeBron James, the Lakers failed to make the 2019 NBA playoffs and the pressure is on them to make a splash through free agency or possibly a trade.
Unfortunately for the Lakers so far, the offseason has been all about the drama surrounding the franchise. Magic Johnson stepping down as president of basketball operations came as a shock to everyone and the manner in which he did so raised a lot of eyebrows as well.
The head coaching search brought along its own set of questions, especially regarding who all had a voice within the front office, and Johnson’s recent appearance on ESPN in which he called general manager Rob Pelinka a ‘backstabber’ was yet another bad look for the Lakers.
There were already questions about whether the Lakers would be able to land another big name in free agency and following all that has gone on so far this offseason, there is reportedly concern from James that a challenging summer has grown even more challenging, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic:
Even before Magic’s latest move, sources close to LeBron James expressed concern that the combination of Magic’s messy exit and all the negative Lakers headlines threatened to sabotage their summer. The challenge of convincing another elite star to come to town was already seen as daunting around the league, and now these horrendous optics make that uphill climb far worse.
There is very little doubt the Lakers as an organization seem to look bad from the outside. All of the stories surrounding them so far have been about drama within the front office and players see these things and question whether they would want to be a part of it.
The Lakers have a major piece in place already with James on the roster, but Year 1 proved they will need more in order to get back to championship contention. They have the means to improve the team with a top draft pick and salary cap space, but all of the negativity surrounding them threatens to cancel all of that out.
James reportedly wants to be a Laker and win in Los Angeles. The pressure will be on the front office to deliver on their end and build a roster capable of competing and hopefully, they haven’t sabotaged themselves with all of the drama surrounding the team rubbing potential free agents the wrong way.