Ronnie Lester worked for the Lakers organization for 24 years and spent each one as a quiet, professional employee. However, after his recent dismissal from the team he’s decided to break his silence.
Lester, who spent the last decade as assistant general manager to Mitch Kupchak, has spoken out concerning his feelings with the Lakers for cutting nearly 20 employees following the end of last season.
According to Lester some of the employees were laid off while others were simply told their contracts would not be renewed. Several of the mentioned employees were members of former head coach Phil Jackson’s staff. This is another example of the Buss family looking to distance themselves from Jackson’s tenure.
Lester is unhappy with the manner in which these employees were dismissed from their positions, feeling they deserved better treatment. He also stated he believes the Lakers organization is one that has a respected reputation and is better than the way they treated these employees.
“You think of the Lakers and you think they are a great organization,” Lester stated. “But if you work inside the organization, it’s only a perception of being a great organization. It’s probably not a great organization, because great organizations don’t treat their personnel like they’ve done.”
Lester went on to describe an attitude of disagreement within the organization itself, stating he believes that Kupchak and vice president of player personnel Jim Buss have differing opinions on whether or not Lester should return.
Lester’s contract runs out at the end of this month, but said he believes Kupchak wants him to return. Buss, however, wants to move the Lakers in a different direction. Buss has received an increased role in team operations as son of owner Jerry Buss, and is reportedly looking to make his impact known.
The Lakers refused to comment on the situation. Since the team is currently in lockout the league has informed teams that any organization to make comments about the lockout or personnel will be fined up to $1 million.