The 2019 NBA Playoffs began in full earnest over the weekend, which brought about an unusual number of upsets in respective Game 1s of first-round series. But as excitement around the NBA is picking up, the Los Angeles Lakers again find themselves on the outside looking in.
Despite signing LeBron James on the first day of 2018 NBA Free Agency, the Lakers missed the playoffs for a sixth consecutive season. It’s a drought that the franchise had otherwise never experienced.
From 1949 to 2013, the Lakers missed the playoffs only five times. Their ongoing struggles are much to the delight of NBA super fan and longtime season-ticket holder Jimmy Goldstein.
The Lakers’ futility made for fodder on “Inside The NBA,” as host Ernie Johnson and analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith began their annual ‘Gone Fishin’ ritual.
It depicted former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Lonzo Ball walking the plank, former head coach Luke Walton peeking out from the bottom of the ship and James, Jeanie Buss and general manager Rob Pelinka looking on.
D-Wade, Dirk and the Lakers are Gone Fishin’ pic.twitter.com/FE7uz1zzFP
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 15, 2019
Days after Johnson abruptly resigned, the Lakers and Walton parted ways. The change was touted by the team as a mutual decision, but a report has since suggested Walton hoped to return for the 2019-20 season.
Nevertheless, the embattled head coach did not remain unemployed for long. The Sacramento Kings officially announced the hiring of Walton as their new head coach on Monday.
While it’s unclear if the Lakers will replace Johnson with a new president of basketball operations, Pelinka is said to be leading the coaching search. The Lakers are expected to meet with Philadelphia 76ers assistant Monty Williams and former Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue in the coming days.