The Lakers used to roll out the red carpet for free agents and watch them pull up one after the other. Now, they can’t get a call back to schedule a coffee meeting at Starbucks. Yesterday, the formerly proud Lakers took another hit. Free agent, shot blocking savant Hasaan Whiteside blew them off to re-sign with the Heat. Today, the Lakers settled for signing journeyman center Timofey Mozgov, who averaged 6 points and 4 rebounds for the Cavs last season. He got less floor time in the Finals than the halftime dancers.
The Lakers as a franchise just haven’t pivoted and changed with the times. Like Blockbuster and Kodak, the Lakers are a historic brand, built by legendary owner Jerry Buss, but they have no credibility or relevance anymore other than the championship banners in the rafters. Today in The Herd, Colin said it’s a bad sign when the Lakers can’t get meetings with second tier free agents.
“The Lakers got A+ players and their agents, Shaq, Kareem, only considered the Lakers. Now, B players and their agents don’t even give the Lakers a visit. Al Horford, ‘I’m not gonna come for a visit.’ Hasaan Whiteside, ‘I’m not gonna come for a visit.’
B-players in the league now are saying, ‘The Lakers aren’t even worth my time.’
The Lakers business model is trending towards Kodak or Blockbuster more than Instagram and Netflix. Kodak was the preeminent name in photography for decades, but it never used its position as the industry leader to lead the transition to digital photographs. Now they’re irrelevant.
Blockbuster was the only place to go to get movies, then Netflix came along with home movie delivery with no oppressive late fees (!). Blockbuster lagged behind the Netflix business model. Too little too late.
The most difficult thing for an industry leader to do is continue to improve and remain innovative once they’re at the top of the mountain. The Lakers under Jim Buss are still pushing polaroid pictures and VHS tapes. Free agents like Hasaan Whiteside prefer Instagram.