The Los Angeles Lakers have decided they will not be hiring a new president of basketball operations, according to a report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The position has been vacant since Magic Johnson resigned at the end of the season.
According to Shelburne, general manager Rob Pelinka will remain in charge of day-to-day operations and report back to ownership.
This is not surprising information, of course, as the Lakers conducted a full coaching search without a president. Where it is notable, however, is in the overall hierarchy of the organization.
Through the coaching search, we know that Jeanie Buss’ friend Linda Rambis and her husband, former Laker and current “special advisor” Kurt Rambis, have enormous influence within the organization. In fact, it has been rumored that the team’s infatuation with Jason Kidd was a byproduct of Rambis. Frank Vogel was also hired, in part, because of previously interviewing for the New York Knicks head coaching position when Rambis’ mentor, Phil Jackson, ran the show.
So while Pelinka is billed as the decision maker in the front office, it’s clear that he can be overruled fairly easily by Rambis which would seem to indicate that all the rumors about him being a “shadow president” have some merit.
The Lakers’ lack of hierarchy showed itself in the coaching search in embarrassing fashion, given how they lost out on both Tyronn Lue and Monty Williams. There needs to be much more structure before free agency if the team hopes to rebound after a highly disappointing season.