The Los Angeles Lakers have been a disjointed team throughout much of the season, and apparently the players were mentally checked out well before they were no longer in contention for the playoffs.
Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com detailed one instance in which a Los Angeles player was texting someone during halftime of a game. What makes matters worse, is that the incident reportedly occurred in front of Lakers head coach Frank Vogel. Bulpett's source said the player claimed it wasn't the first time that happened.
"I couldn’t believe it. And later when we met up, he said he wasn’t the only motherf--ker texting other people,” the employee told Heavy. "He said it was nothing against Vogel. The players liked Frank and thought he knew what he was doing. They saw him as a good guy and a good basketball guy, but Frank had been marginalized too much."
At 32-49 entering Sunday's regular-season finale, the Lakers are set to miss the postseason just two years removed from winning an NBA championship. Los Angeles has had to deal with the absences of star players LeBron James and Anthony Davis for much of the season, as they both suffered multiple injuries. The veteran-laden roster failed to jell even in the moments the team was fully healthy.
All of this led to rampant speculation surrounding Vogel's job security throughout the year, which he recently admitted had gotten to him.
"It’s not easy to shut it out," Vogel told Bill Oram of The Athletic (h/t Hoops Hype). "It’s not fun to have those reports hanging over your head or seeing it everywhere you look, especially so early in the season [and] after what we’ve been able to accomplish here. But to me, that pressure of expectation has been here since the day I signed on."
It's clear that the Lakers need some changes if they want to return to title contention next season, so Vogel's days in Los Angeles might be numbered.