This is the definition of Lakers exceptionalism, and it is hilariously hypocritical.
Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has followed up her performance at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, where she had the misfortune of calling the very real and accurate reports of her team’s trade offers for Anthony Davis “fake news” this past weekend, by accusing rivals of planting those stories in an attempt to disrupt the chemistry in L.A., according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania:
Buss believes her words and the message that was delivered to her, feeling rival teams placed stories to go public in order to hurt the Lakers’ chemistry, sources told The Athletic.
“Those stories leak out, and it hurt our young players. It wasn’t fair,” Buss said.
It wasn’t fair! Never mind the fact that the Pelicans, per Charania, are pretty sure it was the Lakers who leaked the stories, considering media reports repeatedly surfaced outlining their trade offers “a minute” after the two sides got off the phone.
Let me see if I have this timeline right:
LeBron James openly pined for Davis, who will not be a free agent until 2020, leading opposing general managers to express their frustration with how the Lakers superstar’s comments can negatively impact opposing locker rooms.
LeBron dismisses the notion, declaring he would also like to play with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and a host of other impending free agents.
LeBron’s agent and friend, Rich Paul, orchestrates Davis’ trade request from the New Orleans Pelicans in a transparent attempt to get him on the Lakers.
The Pelicans opted not to accept any of those offers, choosing instead to wait until the summer, when several better options could be on the table, and Lakers president Magic Johnson accused New Orleans of acting in bad faith.
The Lakers are frustrated that this has impacted their locker room chemistry.
The Lakers are being treated unfairly? That’s rich (Rich?), especially considering LeBron and the Lakers undoubtedly had their hands all over Paul’s attempted Davis-to-L.A. coup. You cannot cry foul about the chemistry fallout when you brought this on yourself and you practically invented the art of disrupting chemistry.
This is the Lakers M.O. Look no further than the Paul George timeline:
George requests a trade from the Indiana Pacers, preferably to the Lakers.
The NBA warns Johnson against tampering after he made it plainly obvious on national television that the Lakers very much want George in L.A.
The Lakers lowball the Pacers in their offer for George, believing they can land him in free agency regardless, and Indiana instead trades him to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a significantly better trade package.
The Lakers actually tamper with George, earning a $500,000 fine.
The Lakers got “pissed” at George when, instead of meeting with them in free agency, he decided he liked OKC and chose to re-sign there.
Or the Kawhi Leonard timeline:
Kawhi requests a trade from the San Antonio Spurs, preferably to the Lakers.
The Lakers lowball the Spurs, believing they can land Kawhi in free agency, and San Antonio trades him to the Toronto Raptors for a much better offer.
The Lakers think the Spurs didn’t act in good faith.
Did the Lakers ever stop to think their chemistry is off because they publicly thirsted after Davis, reportedly offering nine different players for him? Did they consider that the chemistry is off because they signed a cast of characters to one-year deals in an attempt to maintain cap space for better players? Of course not.
Instead: How dare opposing teams mess with the Lakers’ chemistry when they have been messing with opposing teams’ chemistry ever since Buss revamped the power structure and put Johnson at the helm of an operation designed to lure multiple All-Star talents away from other teams! They should accept this quietly!
Like Buss, Johnson also believes the Lakers are being treated unfairly, suggesting that the NBA fines them — and only them — for tampering. Again: How dare the Lakers continue to be scrutinized for tampering when they have tampered so much!
Surely the rest of the NBA is shedding a tear for the poor Lakers.
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