NBA commissioner Adam Silver has "tremendous" confidence that the Lakers will overcome an offseason that has so far been one full of challenges. In a wide-ranging interview on ESPN's morning show Get Up, Silver backed Lakers owner Jeanie Buss's abilities to lead the team.
"I know Jeanie knows how to manage a team," Silver said. "Sure, when things start to go wrong, a lot of fingers get pointed. But they'll figure it out."
In April, Magic Johnson abruptly stepped down as the team's president of basketball operations before the Lakers fired coach Luke Walton just days later. On Tuesday, a report from ESPN's Baxter Holmes revealed further tension within the organization, offering new details on how Johnson used "intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority" and how general manager Rob Pelinka is widely viewed by staffers as "disingenuous" and "not being truthful."
The story also sheds light on LeBron James' agent and business partner Rich Paul, who reportedly told Silver that he did not believe Walton was the right coach for the Lakers.
Silver addressed that conversation on Wednesday.
"He was in the same restaurant," Silver said. "There were two people sitting there. He sat down for a second, and I think he said something along the lines that 'Luke Walton is not the right guy to coach LeBron.'
"My reaction was to shrug my shoulders and maybe say, 'Well, who do you think is the right guy to coach?' And he mentioned a name and that was that," Silver added. "I think as commissioner, I don't want to shut people off who have a point of view."
Walton has since been replaced by former Pacers and Magic coach Frank Vogel.
The Lakers finished the 2018 season 37–45 and missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year.