EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA) – The Los Angeles Lakers introduced new head coach Frank Vogel Monday against the backdrop of new allegations by former team president Magic Johnson of “betrayal” by GM Rob Pelinka prior to his decision to step down last month.
Johnson identified Pelinka during an interview Monday on ESPN’s “First Take” in which he said his resignation was the result of moves being made by Pelinka and Lakers co-owner Jeannie Buss.
“If you’re going to talk betrayal, it’s only with Rob [Pelinka],” he said, adding there were “too many people at the table” concerning the Lakers’ basketball decisions.
“That was supposed to be me as the president, having the final say,” said Johnson.
When Pelinka was asked Monday about Johnson’s comments, he called them “surprising” and “disheartening”.
“Two days ago, we were reliving the [NBA] Combine and the fourth pick and talking about the great future this franchise has,” said Pelinka. “So these things are surprising to hear and disheartening.”
The interview took place hours before Pelinka introduced former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Heat coach Frank Vogel as the team’s fifth permanent coach since the retirement of Phil Jackson in 2011.
Vogel told reporters he plans on a looser style of play to incorporate more 3-point shooting similar to Golden State and hopes to build the offense from the outside in.
He also indicated his support for the roster as it currently stands as well as any potential moves down the line.
“There’s an excitement about … what we can accomplish,” Vogel said.
The Lakers announced last Monday they had signed the 45-year-old Vogel to a multi-year contract to replace Luke Walton, who “mutually agreed to part ways” April 12, three days after they completed the season with a 37-45 record, missing the NBA playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, despite signing superstar forward LeBron James last summer.