Report: 'Lakers’ Reputation Isn’t Good'; Concerns Include Meddling, Suspect Contracts

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 17, 2022

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 23: General manager Rob Pelinka of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on prior to the game against the Miami Heat at FTX Arena on January 23, 2022 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers season was barely a few minutes over before it leaked that head coach Frank Vogel would be fired, well before he was informed of the decision. It wasn't a great look for a franchise that had just finished a disastrous 33-49 in the 2021-22 season and didn't so much as qualify for the play-in tournament. 

And it was indicative of a franchise that reportedly is earning itself a poor image in coaching circles.

According to Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, "Those with knowledge of coaching situations around the league say the Lakers' reputation isn't good—concerns about meddling, too many voices, suspect contracts and obvious roster problems creating an equation that has them working from behind."

"Is the Lakers' job that attractive?" a coaching agent added. "I'm not so sure it is. But someone will take the job."

Per that report, the Lakers are expected to have a number of current head coaches (the Utah Jazz's Quin Snyder, Philadelphia 76ers' Doc Rivers and Toronto Raptors' Nick Nurse) and a collection of available former head coaches or assistants (Terry Stotts, Scott Brooks, Mike Brown and Alex Jensen) as potential candidates for their head-coaching vacancy. 

The $47 million elephant in the room, of course, is that the Lakers have found themselves in their current predicament because of poor roster construction more than anything else. Russell Westbrook proved to be a horrible fit with this team, and his massive player option for the 2022-23 season will make him hard to move. 

But the Lakers surrounded LeBron James and Anthony Davis with an old roster that didn't play particularly stout defense and didn't space the floor well. While injuries to those players were a major impediment this season, the Lakers were only 11-11 when both played and were outscored by 2.5 points per 100 possessions, per NBA.com.

Most coaching vacancies this offseason won't have a starting base of LeBron and AD. But most franchises don't have the spotlight, pressure or yearly drama that the Lakers seem to specialize in. 

Further, the handling of Vogel's firing didn't play well publicly for the team:


"They've scapegoated Frank and Russ all year."<br><br>Chuck reacts to reports that Frank Vogel has coached his final game with the Lakers. <a href="https://t.co/fJax7p13H5">pic.twitter.com/fJax7p13H5</a>


"Woj tweeted one minute after the game that Frank Vogel was fired. … The Lakers didn’t even have the decency to inform the coach that won them a championship 18 months ago, that they were going to let him go. … The Laker organization is in utter disarray.”<br><br>—<a href="https://twitter.com/Rjeff24?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Rjeff24</a> 😳 <a href="https://t.co/KRAr779sTU">pic.twitter.com/KRAr779sTU</a>

Dan Patrick Show @dpshow

"It is absolutely embarrassing and bush league what the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Lakers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Lakers</a> have done to Frank Vogel... There's other people that should be held accountable for putting this crappy roster together." -<a href="https://twitter.com/ReggieMillerTNT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ReggieMillerTNT</a><br><br>For Reggie's full appearance: <a href="https://t.co/NsZSz7x69C">https://t.co/NsZSz7x69C</a> <a href="https://t.co/iizbNyfN2h">pic.twitter.com/iizbNyfN2h</a>

Greg Beacham @gregbeacham

Rob Pelinka is basically dismissing the embarrassing leak of Frank Vogel's firing last night as something he can't control. He doesn't seem to be aware that cohesive, well-run front offices rarely allow that stuff to happen.

Bill Oram @billoram

By letting this be reported in the manner it was, when it was, the Lakers robbed Frank Vogel of the opportunity to talk about a really wonderful night for some young players trying to gain a foothold in the NBA. Just a terrible look.

Still, general manager Rob Pelinka is portraying an air of confidence about finding a new head coach. 

"The Lakers franchise is one of the most respected in all of sports across the globe and I think that will remain to be the case," he said. "And we'll put the work behind it to make sure that's the case. Because again, that's what our fans expect."

But if the Lakers don't find the right person for the job—and don't find a way to clean up the roster around James and Davis—it will be Pelinka on the chopping block next.