Did the Lakers Mistreat Fired Staff?

by July 06, 2011

Like every other team in the League, the Lakers are looking to cut costs during the NBA lockout, and have reduced personnel. According to former assistant GM Ronnie Lester, however, LA did some of its front-office and scouting staff dirty. From ESPN: “This hasn’t been a good year so far. Already he’s lost his job, gotten divorced and sold his house. The team he helped assemble underachieved and got swept out of the second round of the playoffs. And yet Los Angeles Lakers assistant general manager Ronnie Lester considers himself one of the lucky ones … Barring a last-minute change of heart, Lester’s 24-year run with the Lakers will end when his contract expires this month. By then, at least 20 other Lakers staffers, including almost all of the scouts who work under Lester in the basketball operations department, will have already packed their belongings and headed home. They’ve been told little by the team, except that employees whose contracts expire on or after June 30 would not have their contracts renewed, and their jobs may or may not open up again down the line … Lester has worked with these men for the past three decades. He’s trusted them. Before the NBA draft, he had to say goodbye. ‘I feel bad because they’re great guys, they love the Lakers, they love working for the Lakers,’ Lester said. ‘They work really hard and they’re really good at their jobs and now they’re being thrown out in the cold with mortgages and kids to support, so it’s not a comforting thought’ … He’s grateful to the Lakers for hiring him as a scout back in 1987 and for everything that came after. But he’s confused about why it’s ending this way. ‘It’s awful funny that the Lakers, one of the highest grossing teams in the league, could do this to their employees, just throw them out in the cold,; he said.”