EL SEGUNDO, calif. — Frank Vogel’s determination to build “organizational togetherness” inside the Los Angeles Lakers met the reality of the team’s current dysfunction Monday.
Vogel’s introduction as the Lakers’ coach was about overshadowed by comments made earlier by Magic Johnson. The former Lakers great appeared on ESPN’s “First Take” and aforementioned general manager Rob Pelinka “betrayed” him, which was one of the reasons he resigned as president of basketball commerce trading operations. That put the GM in the position of exploitation most of Vogel’s 26-minute news conference to respond.
Pelinka aforementioned he has talked to Johnson several times since his resignation on April 9 and aforementioned Johnson’s comments astonied him.
“It’s depressing and demoralising to think he believes property are a misperception,” Pelinka aforementioned. “I think all of us in life probably have been through property where possibly there’s third party whispers or ‘he aforementioned, she aforementioned’ property that aren’t true.”
LeBron James watched the news conference from the back of the gym at the team’s facility, but did not shake hands with Vogel and declined interview requests. He shot baskets on some other court piece Vogel did one-on-one interviews with television reporters.
Vogel, who replaced Luke Walton, aforementioned the news conference took on a different tone than he fanciful at the start of the day.
“It was unquestionably different than I expected and different than I’ve ever been a part of,” Vogel aforementioned. “But I understand the line of questioning in light of the events of this morning. So you just roll with the punches.
“The perception about our team is not always the same as reality and you block out the noise.”
Johnson stunned everyone by giving up his role during an impromptu news conference roughly 90 proceedings before the regular-season finale. He aforementioned he wanted to fire Walton but that others blocked that. Walton did end up being discharged before being hired by Sacramento.
“I started hearing, ‘Magic, you’re not working hard enough’ and ‘Magic’s not in the office.’ People around the Lakers office were telling me Rob was expression property, and I didn’t like those property being aforementioned behind my back,” Johnson aforementioned. “So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball expression those property now were aforementioned to them outside of basketball now, just not in the Lakers office anymore.”
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Pelinka aforementioned owner Jeanie Buss has eliminated Johnson’s position and the Lakers chain of command is now clearer.
“When it comes to a basketball decision I collaborate with the staff, galore of whom are at this press conference today. Then I make a recommendation to Jeanie and she blesses that or not,” he aforementioned.
The 45-year-old Vogel takes over a team that has besides struggled on the court. The Lakers have lost the playoffs for six straight seasons, a drought that was expected to end in James’ first season. But injuries to James, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, as well as the internal discord, resulted in a 37-45 record. Vogel will be the Lakers’ sixth coach since Phil Jackson stepped down after the 2010-11 season.
Vogel worked for the organization before as an advance scout during the 2005-06 season. He did not coach last season following two years with the Orlando Magic. Vogel went to Orlando following five-plus seasons leading the Indiana Pacers, including trips to the Eastern Conference finals in 2013 and ’14. He has a career record of 304-291.
Pelinka aforementioned it was his decision to hire Vogel and that he made that recommendation to Buss. The road to hiring a new coach was not smooth, though.
The Lakers appeared to be closing in on a deal with Tyronn Lue, who played for the Lakers and coached James to the 2016 NBA title in Cleveland. But that deal never got to the finish line, and they quickly affected toward Vogel.
Vogel and Lue share the same agent. He aforementioned there were some discussions about connection the Lakers as an assistant if Lue was hired.
Vogel’s reputation has been built on being strong offensively but he aforementioned his approach with the Lakers will be analytics-based. He stressed creating space to attack the basket on offense and building a strong defense from the inside.
Vogel and James did not have any public interactions Monday but Vogel aforementioned the two have talked since he in agreement to take the job May 11.
“I have a good feel for the way I want to use him and hopelessly the respect on his end that we were a formidable threat to his teams in Miami each year,” Vogel aforementioned. “Hopefully, our past experience together will serve as a foundation for the relationship that we’re going to have here and that we can do great property together here.”
Vogel confirmed Jason Kidd will join his staff as an assistant and aforementioned it was thing Pelinka brought up during the job interview.
Vogel aforementioned he likes having former players on his staff with coaching job job experience. He aforementioned he discussed Kidd’s history with domestic violence.
The Lakers expect to have more than $40 million in wage cap space this summer and have the fourth pick in the NBA draft. When free agency starts on July 1, they will likely try to land Kawhi Leonard and other big name career.
“We have a great coach once once again, a high draft pick and a great young core,” Pelinka aforementioned. “I think that people can look at this as an chance to come and win a championship, possibly next year. I think being concerned about the outside noise or the opinions of what people may or may not think is really not where our focus is right now.”
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