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“They are a marquee franchise that's being run like a Dave & Busters” — Chris Mannix shreds the Los Angeles Lakers

The solution is obvious, but it's not likely the Lakers will implement it.
Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, owner Jeanie Buss and advisor Kurt Rambis

Rob Pelinka, Jeanie Buss and Kurt Rambis

The Los Angeles Lakers may be the most famous NBA franchise, but under the hood, it's a small family operation. One of the ways it's reflected is in how much the Lakers spend on anyone who isn't a superstar player. (If you ask around the league, the word "cheap" might pop up.) But the current s**tshow in LA is more than just not spending on front office staff. It's the ultimate example of nepotism.

Dave & Busters

Having such a lean front office increases the variability of outcomes. When you have Jerry West running the show, great things happen. Mitch Kupchak takes over, with West as an advisor? We're good. It seems Jeanie Buss thinks Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis are on that level, and Chris Mannix went on a rant explaining how delusional that position is.

Jeanie Buss seems to believe she's got the best and the brightest in that organization, which, she does not. They are a marquee franchise that's being run like a Dave & Busters.” said Mannix on the Bill Simmons Podcast

Mannix made sure to point out this isn't on Rob Pelinka. We've seen successful agents move to a front-office role, like Bob Myers in Golden State, and succeed. There's a logic behind that hire. The other people on the core team are the ones that raise everyone's eyebrow.

To read Jeanie Buss defend Kurt Rambis by describing his 40 years of experience that have led to nothing consequential, and then kind of denying that Linda Rambis is involved in basketball operations, but affirming that she is an advisor, which kind of suggest she is involved in basketball operations,” Mannix explained.

If you didn't pick up the hints in numerous podcasts and articles, it seems that alongside Pelinka, the Lakers' decision-making committee consists of Linda Rambis, Jeanie Buss' best friend, Kurt Rambis, and Phil Jackson. As much as their thinking aligns with LeBron James and Rich Paul.

What are their credentials? Phil Jackson is one of the best coaches ever, but we all know his GM track record is on the other side of success. Kurt Rambis is one of the worst coaches in NBA history and only got jobs when Phil Jackson gave them to him. Linda is, well, Jeanie's BFF and Kurt's wife. 

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I don't know how a team like that, which should have limitless resources, which should go out of its way to have the best front office in all of basketball, can be run in such a mom-and-pop way,” Mannix summarized. 

We do - it's called nepotism. While that's nothing out of the ordinary in professional sports -- a lot of friends and family members get "special advisor" positions -- but usually, they are low on the totem pole. With the Lakers, they seem to be the entire totem pole. 

The Sam Presti cunudrum

As Simmons pointed out, 29 teams in the Association hope nothing changes with the Lakers. Their current front office is a major competitive advantage for the other 29, maybe even to the point where it outweighs the prestige of playing for the Lakers and living in LA.

The solution for the Lakers seems simple - call Sam Presti and offer him a ton of money to get your house in order. Anytime someone's GM job is in question, Presti comes up as a target. OKC's GM is highly respected and is running, well, a team in Oklahoma City.

”Presti is sitting there, as Masai is in Toronto, the Boston situation is stable, Golden State is stable - if you're talking who's the big ticket name that would immediatley fix your franchise, I would say it's Presti.” 

Bill Simmons, The Bill Simmons Podcast

Let's say the Lakers do what they never did and pay market money for a top-level front office guy - Simmons mentioned $15 million a year. And for the sake of argument, let's say Presti actually wants to deal with LeBron/Klutch, the Westbrook situation, not having control over their first round picks until 2027, and the pressure of doing it all for the Lakers. Guys like him prioritize one thing above else. Chris Mannix explained it nicely.

“I'm 100% sure that if Sam Presti took a job like that, he would only take it if he could pink-slip everybody in the organization, and he could tell every member of the Buss family besides Jeanie that they should lose his number. That they have no acces to the front office and that their input is no longer required.” 

How can he be 100% sure? Must've gotten it from a very reliable source. Could this be Sam Presti signaling his conditions to Jeanie Buss? Absolutely. Will she pull the trigger? According to everything she said in the interview Buss gave to Bill Plaschke, she won't. 

She's not happy and doesn't understand why she's paying luxury tax for such a poor team, but Jeanie Buss doesn't seem to think the decision-making process and the people involved could be the cause. Her solution? Find a coach that can make the Westbrook situation work. 

Good luck Laker Nation. You're gonna need it. 

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