These days, it seems the Los Angeles Lakers can't stay out of drama, even if it has nothing to do with any of the team's players or current coaching staff.
Today, the latest soap opera hit the storied franchise, as excerpts from Jeanie Buss' upcoming update to her acclaimed memoir, entitled "Laker Girl," were released by the Los Angeles Times and, at least from the sound of things, there's more than a little tension within the organization (via ESPN.com).
Jeanie Buss, the chief of the Los Angeles Lakers' business operations and fiancee of Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, wrote in an upcoming update to her "Laker Girl" memoir that she felt the hiring of Mike D'Antoni as head coach last year instead of Jackson was "a betrayal."
Buss, in an excerpt published Sunday in the Los Angeles Times, wrote she felt she "got played," referring to the decision ultimately made by her brother Jim, which she has said took her and Jackson by surprise and had been an unsettling experience.
Obviously, Buss' opinions are about as biased as they come in this particular situation, as the 51-year-old is engaged to the 13-time NBA champion and coaching legend, but her take on the situation does merit consideration.
It's strange to think that the Lakers' brass would ever dream of "leading on" a living legend like Jackson, especially given how much success he had with the core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace in the past.
Apparently, Buss felt "betrayed" by the team's decision to hire Mike D'Antoni over the former Bulls and Lakers bench boss and, regardless of how much truth there is to that notion, it's pretty obvious that there were opposing views on which coach should lead the team following Mike Brown's dismissal.
However, as Eric Pincus of Hoopsworld.com and the L.A. Times points out, Jeanie Buss' decision to air these feelings out publicly is more than a little bit puzzling.
I gotta say - if Jeanie wants her brother to not perceive her as the enemy - should these private moments be shared?http://t.co/rDzLo07tbj— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) September 23, 2013
Jeanie's excerpts in updated memoir on Lakers passing on Phil aren't surprising. She said similar things this summer http://t.co/cMlysDnWLm— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 23, 2013
Overall, whether the Lakers actually misled Jackson doesn't make any difference for the team down the road because, at 68, the former New York Knick is extremely unlikely to ever return to the NBA as a head coach, especially with L.A.
According to Buss, though, Jackson was so close to accepting the job that he donned his "Hawaiian shirt," which was supposedly a sign of his intention to return to the Lakers (via CBS Sports' Matt Moore).
That Sunday night, just before he started preparing dinner, Phil put on his Lakers Hawaiian shirt, the one he had often worn during the season. It was clear to me he was getting mentally ready to return to his old job.
Nothing was for sure, but things were moving in that direction.
In case you were wondering, yes, we should probably take all of this information with a large spoonful of salt.
But it is interesting to think about how the decision to go with D'Antoni panned out for an aging yet star-studded roster that had featured five current or former All-Stars in Bryant, Gasol, Steve Nash, Dwight Howard and World Peace, as the Lakers bowed out of the postseason quickly to the Spurs.
And now, the Lakers have lost the guy they'd planned on building the team around down the road in Howard and, with Bryant still recovering from the knee injury he sustained late in the season, this is a basketball team that appears to be trending in the wrong direction.
It's obviously impossible to know whether Phil could have made a difference in that regard, but one has to wonder.