L.A Lakers fans, the Jim Buss era has officially arrived!
Until recently, most fans hadn’t even heard of Jim Buss. Now they wish they never had.
Jim is the son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss and the brother of Jeanie Buss—Phil Jackson’s girlfriend. At age 51, Jim has now taken over daddy’s empire and is the most influential person in the Lakers organization.
I want to like Jim, I really do. I am an avid Lakers fan and want to see my team succeed. I want the Lakers to reload in the offseason and come back stronger than ever. I want to see another title hanging from the rafters and I want Kobe Bryant to win his Michael Jordan-tying sixth championship.
But from what I have seen from Jim so far, I have my doubts about the Lakers’ future. He appears dead set on doing things his way and his recent actions give me no confidence that he has the ability to run an NBA franchise.
There is still hope for this team, but the future in L.A. has definitely looked brighter. Here are five reasons why Jim Buss is single-handedly ruining the Lakers.
Note: Many of the comments shared in this article come from an interview that Los Angeles Times columnist T. J. Simers held with Jim Buss.
I include the question mark because I don’t really feel that Jim was the main factor that drove Phil to retire.
While Phil has made it clear that he’s done coaching and ready to move on, would he have stayed an additional year if the two got along?
It’s been rumored that the two have a poor relationship and didn’t even speak last year. While Jim denies it all, how could he go an entire year without talking to his head coach? Especially if that coach is dating his little sister?
Is it possible that one of Phil’s key reasons for retirement was the ongoing power struggle with Jim?
Although Andrew Bynum is a very good basketball player, he is not a great player and appears to lack the makeup of a true champion.
True champions don’t throw a hissy fit and clothesline the smallest guy on the opposing team. True champions don’t get kicked out of a game and rip off their jersey on their way to the locker room. True champions don’t publicly call out their team and blame others for having “trust issues.”
Bynum is filled with talent and potential, but he just doesn’t have “it.” Sure he’s young and will continue to develop his game, but he’s now been in the league for six years. If he had the makeup of a superstar, he would have displayed it by now.
When healthy, Bynum is a talent that few can defend. But as we’ve seen throughout the years, Bynum is rarely healthy. As long as Bynum is wearing a Lakers jersey, the team will be held hostage to his feeble body and continual season-ending injuries.
Since he drafted Bynum, Jim has been deeply committed to seeing his center succeed. Jim’s previous actions have made it clear that Bynum will not be traded under any circumstances.
The Lakers would be wise to trade him for Dwight Howard, but as long as Buss is in charge, Bynum is not leaving L.A.
When asked about next season’s roster, Jim responded with the following:
“Who knows about trade opportunities? We don't think we need major changes. The top seven or eight players will probably be the top seven or eight again next year. Hard to blow up a team that's capable of winning, and to blow up a team and have a new coach, we're not sure that's a good formula."
The Lakers desperately need an upgrade at the point guard position and would greatly benefit from a knockdown three-point shooter.
As much as they would love to fill their needs through a Ron Artest trade, no team is going to take that bait. The Lakers will have to give up a better player to fill their void.
If Jim and the Lakers sit tight with their current roster, the 2012 playoffs will look a lot like the 2011 playoffs.
On May 8, Phil Jackson coached his last game with the Lakers.
On May 25, the team hired Mike Brown.
It took the Lakers just 17 days to make one of the most important organizational decisions they’ll face in the near future—who will fill Jackson’s shoes as the next head coach.
That’s 17 days to narrow the list of candidates and decide who to interview. 17 days to interview Brown, Brian Shaw and Rick Adelman. 17 days to ultimately make the decision to hire Mike Brown.
The head coaching position of the L.A. Lakers is one of the most coveted coaching jobs in all of sports. Why the rush to fill it Jim?
The Lakers have invested in Kobe Bryant as heavily as any franchise can invest in a star player. He has been with the team since 1996, is the face of the franchise, and is still owed $83.6 million over the next three years.
If Kobe wants to, he can destroy the Mike Brown era before it even begins. Thankfully, he is smart enough to know that doing so would destroy the team’s title chances and his legacy.
To make matters worse, Jim said that he was surprised when fans reacted negatively to the hiring of Brown. How is that possible? Does he watch basketball? Did he see the Cavaliers’ offense? Did he watch LeBron James quit on his coach?
The hiring of Mike Brown without consulting Kobe shows that Jim is going to do things his way regardless of the cost. While I think the decision to hire Brown was not the worst in the world, Jim couldn’t have handled that decision any worse.
Lakers fans, the Jim Buss era has begun and it's not looking pretty. Either Jim has a master plan that will eventually come to fruition, or he doesn’t have a clue what he's doing.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going with the latter.