Ronnie Lester unhappy with team in face of impending layoffs
Lakers Assistant General Manager Ronnie Lester, who played for the team from 1984 to 1986 and was hired as a scout in '87, is one of at least 20 Lakers employees, including most of the team’s scouts, who will not have their contracts renewed because of the lockout. The team has told staffers whose contracts expired on June 30 or later that those contracts won’t be renewed, and their jobs may or may not be available to them once the lockout ends, according to the report.
"I'm not worried about myself, I'm worried about the other people on our staff that are really good and have young families and mortgages," Lester told the website ESPNLosAngeles.com. "I'll land on my feet, but those guys who aren't as established, I think they're in a little trouble.”
Last summer the Lakers offered Lester the option of signing a one-year contract at the same pay, or a three-year deal at a 30% pay cut. He took the one-year deal.
Lester was surprised and angered by the Lakers' treatment of loyal employees.
"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. "The Lakers have not done a good job in communicating that to anybody whose contract has ended. Obviously the Lakers don't want these guys back, don't want the scouts back, or they would've said something in that regard.
"So I don't think anybody is coming back. They've not treated people well in that regard."
-- Houston Mitchell
Photo: Assistant GM Ronnie Lester, left, and GM Mitch Kupchak study their options before the 2008 NBA draft. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times.