LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – With the Lakers coming off their sixth straight season missing the playoffs, and still without a head coach, angry fans are holding a protest outside Staples Center Friday demanding changes.

Protesters gathered around noon at the intersection of South Figueroa and West 11th streets. The organizer, fan Charlie Rivers, a University of Arizona graduate student, claims that owner Jeannie Buss has allowed nepotism to dictate the direction of the team.

“The amount of decisions being made right now is basically the decisions of a few people, as a result of nepotism, instead of those with basketball knowledge on how to run a front office, or those with value to the actual game of basketball,” Rivers told CBS2 by phone Thursday night.

Wearing the Lakers signature purple and gold and holding up a sign with an image of LeBron James, one fan told CBSLA the message is clear: the Lakers need help on the court and off.

“You know what, we want a star. We want another star free agent,” he said. “KD [Kevin Durant], Kyrie [Irving].”

Among the chants heard at the rally: “Fire Rambis”, referring to the Lakers’ senior basketball advisor and cult fan favorite Kurt Rambis.

Even Clipper Darrell, the unofficial fan mascot of the Lakers’ cross-town rivals, was on hand to declare the era of the Lakers “over” – which was met with chants of “Clip-pers Suck!”.

The protest comes in the wake of news Wednesday that the Lakers’ top head coaching candidate, Tyronn Lue, had pulled out of contract talks with the team.

The Lakers offered Lue a three-year, $18 million deal, far less than the five-year, $25 million contract he was expecting, the Los Angeles Times reported. The Lakers were also trying to dictate which assistant coaches Lue hired, according to various reports.

Lue was an obvious hire for the Lakers due to his history with star LeBron James and his career as a player for the team. Lue spent three seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers after replacing the fired David Blatt midway through the 2015-16 season. The Cavs went to three straight NBA Finals under Lue, winning the title in 2016.

Magic Johnson reacts as he speaks to the press resigning as Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on April 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

When superstar LeBron James signed with the Lakers last summer, many expected he would immediately push them into title contention, but that has not been the case. The Lakers have been in a state of turmoil since the midway point of the season, when they made a failed attempt to acquire New Orleans Pelicans superstar forward Anthony Davis by offering the Pelicans nearly all their young talent.

Then, on April 9, just prior to the final game of the regular season, Magic Johnson abruptly announced he was stepping down as president of basketball operations. Johnson told reporters he was resigning even before he informed Buss.

“Somebody’s gonna have to tell my boss,” Johnson said.

Three days later, the 37-45 Lakers parted ways with head coach Luke Walton.

Comments (14)
  1. Brad Kaplan says:

    Children who have absolutely NOTHING better to do…absolutely nothing. If there were any other “protest” in town, they’d be at that just the same. Any opportunity to make noise…dress up in funny clothes…make colorful signs…and BE SOMEBODY.

  2. Matthew Jacobs says:

    The disarray the Lakers are undergoing is from the departure of Johnson who as the GM went with bringing on a Superstar/s throwing to the curb the young core the team was grooming

  3. C.J. Mendenhall says:

    People are being so ridiculous. If it weren’t for injuries, the Lakers would probably be battling to get to the Western Conference Semis right now. Even if LeBron didn’t come and they re-signed Randle and Lopez, they’d be in the playoffs. The protest should’ve been about re-signing Randle and Lopez. It was painfully obvious they should be kept. Did you know Lopez made more 3 pointers than any Laker did this past season? He would’ve spaced the floor perfectly for LeBron and Ingram to operate. Randle was (is) a beast and would’ve been great to watch alongside LeBron. Next year they’ll be at least a 4 seed if they’re healthy, regardless of which free agents come or not. They do need to add 3 point specialists, though.