So, Magic Johnson has been silenced. For months, he has been the lone truthful voice coming from the Lakers organization. While Mitch Kupchak told us that D'Antoni was doing a "great" job, Magic expressed the feelings of thousands of fans. When you have two poor squads playing each other and the Lakers' poor roster loses consistently to the others, it's not the coach's fault? And when they make no adjustment to change the results, it's not the coach's fault? Come on. I guess now, we're just supposed to continue not believing our lying eyes.
Ben Bolch's five-point plan for rebuilding the Lakers makes some sense but contained a glaring omission that should have topped the list.
The very first step should be to make Jim Buss the "sign-the-contract" man and keep him out of personnel decisions. His choice to hire D'Antoni over Jackson (when the Lakers had the perfect personnel to run the triangle) was not only dumb, but, in the way it unfolded, was thoroughly wrought with disrespect and dishonesty. If Dr. Buss had agreed on a Saturday to give Jackson till Monday to consider the offer, that's exactly what the elder Buss would have done; he never would have hired someone else 24 hours later.
Then step 2: Replace D'Antoni. His faults are myriad and well-documented but central to all of them is that he lacks a championship mentality. Every Lakers and Suns fan knew this, and the fact that Jim Buss ignored it and hired him anyway is the best proof supporting point 1.
The NBA does not typically make statements about the state of a particular team or player. However, on Wednesday the league spoke volumes about the Lakers and Steve Nash during the game against the Cavaliers. The league chose to invoke an obscure rule used only in the rare circumstance that a team is unable to field a team of five players. They did so despite the fact that Steve Nash was listed on the active roster, dressed in uniform and clearly able to at least stand upright.
Bill Shaikin contends that baseball is more relevant this off-season, due to such factors as the end of football season and the ongoing misfortunes of the Lakers. He contends, however, that the Lakers are "still more compelling than the Clippers."
Thus continues The Times' sports staff's trend of trash-talking the Clippers, even when they're atop the division standings. If winning is what makes our local baseball teams interesting — Shaikin's premise — then the Clippers are the most compelling story in town right now. But such evolved thinking would require a kind of objectivity that Lakers fans and Times sportswriters — often one and the same — are incapable of making.