2019 NBA Draft Rumors: Executives Believe Lakers Interested In Darius Garland, DeAndre Hunter With No. 4 Pick – LakersNation.com

2019 NBA Draft Rumors: Executives Believe Lakers Interested In Darius Garland, De\Andre Hunter With No. 4 Pick - LakersNation.com
Whoo Buddy, The Lakers Sound Like A Real Mess
CLEVELAND, Ohio — There is growing speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers, who pick at No.4 and one spot ahead of the Cavaliers, will use that selection on Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland or Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter.

Garland can give them the shooting they desperately need around LeBron James. He is a prospect who only played five games this season because of injury at Vanderbilt, but has drawn comparisons to Porlands Damian Lillard.

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Report: Magic Johnson ran Lakers with intimidation, left staffers afraid to report him

Hunter brings versatility on the defensive end, an ability to defend most positions on the court, and led the Cavaliers to the national championship.

A Lakers spokesperson said Johnson wasnt reprimanded for unprofessional workplace behavior and that no official complaints were filed. The NBA also has not received complaints about Johnson through its confidential hotline or through any other means, a league spokesperson said, nor has the league investigated the Lakers in the past two seasons for issues related to its workplace environment.

Rob Pelinka Once Told A Blatant Lie Regarding Kobe Meeting With Famous Actor After His Death

Garland left the combine earlier this month early, which drew speculation that he received a promise from a team in the lottery.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders is the latest to confirm the Garland-Hunter speculation. ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla discussed Garland to Los Angeles on Monday during an appearance on SiriusXM Radio. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Times reported that two teams picking higher than the Bulls made promises to Garland and fellow point guard Coby White.

A Lakers executive said he also suffered panic attacks and had to be prescribed anti-anxiety medication. Every day you go in there and you get this horrible feeling of anxiety, the executive said. In the last year, I cant tell you how many panic attacks Ive had from the s— that has happened there.

The Sporting News Sean Deveney wrote that the New York Knicks will consider Jarrett Culver at No. 3. Deveney added that some scouts and league executives believed Culver could have landed at No. 2, had the Cavs or Atlanta Hawks won that selection.

Several Lakers staffers, both current and former, said they didnt feel comfortable going to the teams human resources department with complaints because they feared reprisal and doubted complaints would make an impact. Several staffers said that feeling represented a general consensus in the office.

Magic Johnson was a Lakers bully nightmare from his first words

The idea of the Knicks considering him — coupled with the Lakers mentioned possibilities — could stir up the draft.

“There was one time when Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, was going back to play in Madison Square Garden, and he had just seen ‘The Dark Knight,” Pelinka said. “Obviously, you guys saw that movie, and he’s like, ‘Hey, hook me up with dinner with Heath Ledger, because he got so locked into that role. I want to know how he mentally went there.’ So, he had dinner with Heath, and he talked about how he locks in for a role.

Why did Lakers GM Rob Pelinka lie about Kobe Bryant meeting Heath Ledger?

However, Knicks legend Bernard King told The New York Post he wants Barrett in the Big Apple and paired with Kevin Knox.

He wasn’t lying. He went on to recall when Kobe Bryant had just saw “The Dark Knight” and just had to meet with actor Heath Ledger afterwards. The only problem there was that Ledger had already passed on months before the film was released, but somehow, Kobe still met with him, according to Pelinka.

Lakers Front Office Staffer: Magic Johnson Used Intimidation, Bullying To Show Authority

Hes a tremendous talent with an all-around game, King told The Post. He could put the ball on the floor and has a high basketball IQ. He runs the floor very well and hes a good scorer. Today basketball is positionless. You can have two guys on the floor like Barrett and Kevin.

The latest blunder by him came in a lengthy piece by ESPN where the Worldwide Leader in Sports was in the midst of his introductory press conference with the Lakers in 2017 and declared, “I’m a little bit of a storyteller by nature.”

A week after Magic Johnson appeared on ESPNs “First Take,” describing general manager Rob Pelinka as a backstabber, a report has surfaced from ESPN that paints just about everyone involved in an unflattering manner.

“The Dark Knight” was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died. A source with direct knowledge said no such arrangement was made and no dinner ever took place.”

Baxter Holmes report describes accounts from current and former team employees that Johnson and Pelinka berated staffers and inspired fear. They also made free-agent acquisitions without consent of the other and were responsible for tampering investigations.

How do you make up such a blatant lie like that as if nobody would fact check it in the social media era?

“We all had the same reaction that the basketball world did, like what the f— are we doing?” a Lakers coach member told ESPN. “Not only are we not getting shooting, but were also getting every basket case left on the market.”

As part of an explosive feature that was published on Tuesday, ESPN’s Baxter Holmes spoke with several current and former Lakers staffers about their experiences having Johnson as their boss. From the time Magic was hired in March of 2017, current and ex-team employees say the legend tried to instill fear in those working under him and immediately made it clear that anyone who was not on-board with his style could be replaced. One member of the team’s coaching staff said Johnson pointed at a stack of resumes in his office and said there were “a thousand” people waiting to replace any of his employees. The coach described it as “shocking.”

Report: Many with Lakers confused by signings made after LeBron James

LeBron James agent, Rich Paul, also reportedly tried to get coach Luke Walton fired and influence trades. Paul also rode on the team plane. The agent was called “destructive” and a “culture killer” by sources in the report.

Another Lakers staffer said Johnson used “intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority.” Two employees said Johnson’s commitment to ruling with an iron fist resulted in them needing a prescription for anti-anxiety medication. One longtime female staffer said she was called into an office with Johnson and Lakers GM Rob Pelinka in 2017 after making a mistake, which involved a mix-up with arranging a car service for a draft prospect to the team’s facility. Johnson allegedly berated her.

Report: There are ongoing concerns about Lakers GM Rob Pelinkas credibility

“Coaches know Rich is trying to get them fired, and players know Rich is trying to get them traded,” one agent told ESPN.

Multiple people who witnessed the exchange told Baxter that Johnson made it clear she would be fired if she had one more slip-up. She began to cry, and she said she later suffered increased panic attacks and began taking medication and going to therapy to address the anxiety issue. She quit working for the team on Dec. 18, 2017 after more than 20 years on the job.

Los Angeles high on Darius Garland, DeAndre Hunter

The Lakers could create up to $38.1 million in cap space this offseason, the seventh most in the NBA according to Spotrac.com.

Johnson had no problem pointing the finger with some candid comments he made about Pelinka recently, but it seems clear he created a toxic culture in LA during his time in charge. Judging by what those who worked under him say, it sounds like he may have stepped down too late.

Ja Morant announced Monday on his Instagram account that he signed a multiyear endorsement deal with Nike.

Magic Johnson made a lasting impact on the Los Angeles Lakers in his very brief time in charge of the team’s basketball operations department, and that impact apparently led to anti-anxiety medication being prescribed to at least two people who worked under him.

Some Lakers Staffers Believe Rob Pelinka Has Credibility Issues

Morant is expected to be picked No. 2 overall in the draft to Memphis, behind New Orleans and Zion Williamson, who has yet to sign a shoe deal.

“There was one time when Kobe, who I worked with for 18 years, was going back to play in Madison Square Garden, and he had just seen The Dark Knight,” Pelinka said. “Obviously, you guys saw that movie, and hes like, Hey, hook me up with dinner with Heath Ledger, because he got so locked into that role. I want to know how he mentally went there. So, he had dinner with Heath, and he talked about how he locks in for a role.

ESPNs Baxter Holmes has a big piece this morning with a wide remit—to determine what went wrong with the Pelinka/Magic/LeBron Lakers. The short answer is: So much went wrong, and at just about everybodys hands, that its impossible to construct a single narrative from it. The executives were in over their heads. The power-seekers were indulged, not quarantined. The bosses were tyrants. There were too many cooks, all acting independently of each other and making sure they were insulated from any criticisms. Everyone, at seemingly all times, did what they shouldnt have done, and made sure there was no one around to warn them that they shouldnt do it. Its all, frankly, a masterpiece of organizational rot—a well-run franchise couldnt quickly achieve this level of dysfunction if it tried.

The Lakers, if it doesnt become clear after reading Holmess story, or after, uh, paying attention to the entire last season, are not a well-run franchise. At well-run franchises, things like this dont tend to happen:

The film was released July 18, 2008, and Bryant didnt play the Knicks in Madison Square Garden until Feb. 2, 2009. At that point, Ledger had been dead for more than a year. Nothing about Pelinkas story holds up.

Report: Magic Johnson used intimidation and bullying as a way to show his authority as Lakers president

In November, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Maverick Carter, LeBrons longtime business partner, met for lunch. James agent, Rich Paul, was seated at a nearby table, and at one point, approached Silver to complain about Walton, multiple sources familiar with the interaction told ESPN. Paul said he didnt believe Walton was the right coach for the Lakers. Silver shrugged off the remark and asked whom Paul thought would be the right coach. Paul suggested Tyronn Lue.

But it is surprising to see Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka claim that Bryant had dinner with Ledger after watching the movie. Because Ledger died six months before the film premiered.

Paul was also letting it be known through back-channel conversations, including those with reporters, that he wasnt on board with Walton. Paul criticized how Walton allotted minutes to players and his inconsistent lineups, which were partly the result of injuries and suspensions. Members of the Lakers coaching staff became aware of those conversations and wondered whether Johnsons heated meeting with Walton was influenced by Paul.

“The Dark Knight” was released in July 2008, six months after Ledger died. A source with direct knowledge said no such arrangement was made and no dinner ever took place.

Oh hell yeah. Thats LeBrons agent complaining to the commissioner of the NBA that he doesnt like LeBrons coach.

“It was shocking,” said one Lakers coaching staff member who was present. “If youre going to be in this business, you bring enough pressure on yourself. You dont need more pressure, especially from someone whos supposed to be an ally.”

This, more than anything else—more than Pelinkas obliviousness, or Magics bullying, or the weird, possibly incompetent Buss-Rambis bloc at the top—appears to be the through-line for so much of the Lakers misery. That the front office was so desperate to sign LeBron and to keep him happy that its afforded him and his people unprecedented power in the organization, to the alienation of just about everyone else.

Holmes stacks up the examples. How, the previous season, the Lakers let Kentavious Caldwell-Pope play in games while on a work-release program from prison, because, its implied, hes a Rich Paul client and they wanted Paul happy in order to land LeBron. How the Lakers hired a bunch of LeBrons friends to organizational jobs, including those of trainer, personal security officer, and something called executive administrator, player program & logistics. How Rich Paul was allowed to fly on the teams charter flight.

While this may have kept LeBron happy, it reportedly played havoc with the rest of the team. It was an open secret that the entire roster was trade bait in the Lakers ultimately thwarted attempts to obtain Anthony Davis. Amid the rumors, players did not take kindly to the favoritism shown to LeBron and his agent.

Rich Pauls presence on Lakers team charter made Lakers staff uneasy

Given those perceptions, one former Lakers player described Pauls presence on the team charter as a culture killer.

Lakers Rob Pelinka Made Up Story About Kobe Meeting Heath Ledger: Report

Coaches know Rich is trying to get them fired, and players know Rich is trying to get them traded, said one agent with ties to the Lakers, who called Pauls presence on the plane destructive.

Can LeBron (or Kobe) Help the Lakers Lure Star Power This Summer?

The fallout may not end even when the A.D. derby does. ESPN reports that rival agents are wary of letting their clients sign with the Lakers for fear that Paul, with the access he has on the Lakers, will poach them away and sign them to his agency.

This Is a Classic Anecdote About Rob Pelinka, The Rock, Kobe Bryant, and Heath Ledger

The defense, such as it is, for all of this is that its not new, that LeBron and his people were afforded similar preferential treatment in previous career stops. Therein lies the risk the Lakers took, and which appears to have backfired on them. It was all well and good to let LeBron functionally run a team when he was healthy and the best player in the world—thats a trade-off most front offices make happily. But hes 34 years old now, and surrounded by a flawed roster, and theres not really much evidence that the folks nominally in charge really know what theyre doing. Winning may cure all ills, but the Lakers arent winning, and they have an awful lot of ills.

This Is The Most Entertaining The Lakers Have Been In YearsMagic Johnson Visits First Take, Talks A Whole Bunch Of Shit About Lakers GM Rob PelinkaLakers Hire Backup Head Coach In Case LeBron Doesn't Like The Main GuyAbout the authorBarry PetcheskyBarry PetcheskyDeputy editor | Deadspin


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