The Lakers’ wave of sea changes in their basketball operations department included Rudy Tomjanovich, who coached the Lakers 43 games into the 2004-05 season before abruptly resigning and serving as a consultant for the Lakers in various capacities in subsequent years.
A Lakers spokesperson attributed Tomjanovich’s departure to “part of the reorganization of basketball operations,” which took place shortly after the 2016-17 season ended in mid-April. Last season, Tomjanovich served as a consultant and scout for the Lakers’ basketball analytics department. Tomjanovich’s son, Trey, also is not part of the staff after serving as a consultant and helping with statistical analysis in the basketball analytics department.
The Lakers had signed Tomjanovich to a five-year, $30 million contract to replace Phil Jackson for the 2004-05 season after guiding the Houston Rockets to two NBA championships (1994, 1995) during his 12-year tenure (1991-2003). But Tomjanovich resigned 43 games into the 2004-05 season with a 24-19 record, citing physical and emotional difficulties. The Lakers still retained Tomjanovich in a consulting capacity.
Tomjanovich had been previously linked to a dark part of the Lakers’ history. Tomjanovich, who played with the Rockets from 1971 to 1981, suffered a vicious punch from former Lakers forward Kermit Washington during an on-court scuffle at the Forum. Tomjanovich suffered compound facial fractures and retired in 1981.