The Lakers had one more offseason move to make last week, and it had nothing to do with finding a back-up point guard. By the close of business Friday, green bins lined the halls of their El Segundo practice facility and headquarters, ready to be trucked to the team’s swanky new home.
A lot of Lakers history was packed into those green tubs, just as much of it had been crammed into the 17 years the team spent on Nash Street.
Before the team pulled up stakes last week — a farewell that included a company-wide champagne toast on the practice court — the nondescript concrete bunker had been home to the Lakers since they hurriedly moved in during the 2000 All-Star break. Four months later, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal won their first title.
On Monday, the organization’s roughly 140 employees will report for work two blocks away at the state-of-the-art UCLA Health Training Center, an impressive compound with a team store in a building next door for fans, a second regulation-sized court for practice, and seemingly endless technological bells and whistles for players.
It will be an upgrade in every way. The Lakers are starting fresh with new executives, new stars and a new building.
Before the Lakers blaze into a promising future, however, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the structure that over the course of nearly two decades was home to five championship teams, a parade of superstars and the NBA’s most legendary feud.
“It’s bittersweet,” Jeanie Buss said Friday as she sat across the hall from the office she inherited from her dad, Dr. Jerry Buss, and picked at a humble final supper of takeout Mexican food. “This place has been really good. … It’s like closing a chapter.”
The 10 championship trophies Buss displays in her corner office were ready for the move, protected by customized black hoods. Moving had unearthed memorabilia, stirred memories. Much of it was significant to the Lakers legacy of 16 championships. Some of it…