It would be nice if only for a few months the Lakers could get by without Jim Buss being in the news. Any chance of that happening in the wake of the team losing Dwight Howard in free agency was wiped out when Buss was interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter for a story that appears this week. Buss came across as bearing the sourest of grapes when he said of Howard “He was never really a Laker. He was just passing through.” Further his sister Jeanie Buss indicated in the article that the working relationship between the two isn’t always peachy. Their father the late Dr. Jerry Buss wanted Jeanie to run the business side and Jim to run the basketball side which sounds reasonable enough. But Jeanie told the magazine “I would be more comfortable if I understood what the decision process was and I’m not always involved in it. To be held accountable by the league and not have a seat at the table when decisions are made is hard.” The magazine also addressed Magic Johnson’s assertion that “I don’t believe in Jim Buss” which Buss said hurt him. Truly it is pile-on-Jim-Buss season though it could be argued that it’s been in season at least since the spring of 2011 when Buss hired Mike Brown to replace Phil Jackson and did so without consulting star guard Kobe Bryant (who wanted popular assistant Brian Shaw). But in the midst of the pile-on pause to grant Buss at least one indulgence because in theory this Lakers team should be on a much different path with All-Star Chris Paul at point guard. There was a moment not long ago when Buss seemed to get everything right. It was the winter of 2011 the league was jolted back into its post-lockout business and Buss orchestrated a deal that promised to set the Lakers onto a brighter new future path. They would give up power forward Pau Gasol who would go to the Rockets. Lamar Odom would go to the Hornets who would get three other players (Goran Dragic Kevin Martin and Luis Scola) and a pick from Houston. But The Lakers would emerge with a new star who would be the face of the franchise going forward: Chris Paul. We know the ending. The deal was killed by David Stern then acting in the capacity of the Hornets’ decision-maker because the league owned the team and Stern felt New Orleans needed younger assets. In retrospect it would have been a good deal for the Hornets (now the Pelicans) and likely would have gone through had the team not been owned by the NBA.
Jim Buss and the Lakers, still paying for CP3
Sporting News | Aug 15