Buss It Wide Open: The Buss Saga Continues

By Will Stevenson

 

I am the youngest sibling. I didn’t have any older brothers that I was close to, but I did have an older sister. We had our rivalries when we were young and up through high school. I was four years younger, so of course I was a pest and also the “chosen” one to our parents. When I say chosen, I don’t mean nominated for the throne, but more of the notion that I wouldn’t be antagonized as much as she was. We were not a rich family, nor did we have a family business to fall back on, so separately we both had to make our own way in this world. We had our struggles early on, but as we grew older we learned to depend on each other and learn from each other’s mistakes while growing closer as a unit. Our views are vastly different: Her staying and thrive in Christianity while I have left religion in the past, but we have yet to cast each other aside because of our differences. I said all that to say this: We are not the Buss Family!

After Dr. Jerry Buss passed, the Lakers franchise was at an impasse: Kobe was getting older, Bynum was breaking down, Gasol’s free agency was coming and Phil Jackson was not with the organization. Jim Buss decided to take an approach with the fans that I still find questionable and to this day I don’t understand why he let us know. He told us that if the Lakers did not reach the playoffs or made winning strides, he would resign at his position of decision-making in the Lakers front office. It seems like it was his decision, or maybe it was orchestrated by Jeanie Buss herself, but it still put pressure on he and his job. Maybe Buss thought he could get out in front and ingratiate himself with the fan base, or gather some pity, or something, but as we all know that did not work out so well. Jim is gone, Mitch is gone and Magic is in. To say the least, that’s not even the kicker of the Buss saga.

It seems as if Jim and Johnny Buss, Jeanie’s two older brothers, have attempted to kick Jeanie out of the Lakers trust, literally and figuratively. Now, Jim Buss is receiving 10 million dollars a year for his “severance pay” from the organization, so most would gladly take that money. Would you? Would you be happy with that money knowing that you have failed at running your father’s team? Think about it for a moment: The family business is the Buss family running the Lakers, and you are now kept from running or being involved in the decision-making process. Could you handle that? Jim can’t face the world in suits and a baseball cap with a scruffy beard. Jim has to live with the fact that he has been fired by his younger sister, and with me being a younger brother, nobody wants to have that on their resume whether it is in secret, or in public. With there being six Buss siblings with stakes in the team and voting power, they would need four siblings to hop on board to thwart Jeanie’s role as president and controlling stake in the team.

I wonder how Secret Santa would work with the Buss family.

The Magic Jeanie: The Lakers clean house

Will Stevenson

Jeanie Buss is spreading her wings. I feel like Jeanie is getting her groove back after all those years being stuck listening to the same song, over and over again. The simple fact that Magic Johnson was made President of Basketball Operations, two days before the trade deadline, in February is odd timing. Magic was hired almost a month again, and he’s been on a “I’m taking your job” tour ever since. The talk yesterday was centered around the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Lakers did not obtain him.  Instead they decided to keep Brandon Ingram. Even funnier than that sentence: Neither Magic nor Jeanie Buss were consulted about the possible trade by Jim Buss or Mitch Kupchak. Let’s go back a few years to gain some perspective.

There was Jeanie, saddened after the death of her father, leaving her and her brother Jim to run the franchise. Kobe started to break down, Phil Jackson was fired, and the Lakers were free-falling into mediocrity. In 2014, Jim Buss announced that he would step down if the Lakers weren’t making deep playoff runs. Why he said that, I don’t know. With the Kobe contract around their neck and a coaching carousel that had them paying four head coaches at one time, the Lakers began to whiff on the one thing they thought they could count on: Big-Time Free Agents. The Lakers have been able to draft Russell, Clarkson, Randle, Ingram and Nance Jr, so it’s not as if they haven’t scouted well for young talent. The Lakers have been stuck in rafters, rather than the product on the court. The Kobe send off took three years of development, and having Byron Scott at the helm didn’t help at all. What could the Lakers do to regain relevancy?

Magic Johnson has a mouth-piece that only Jerome from Martin could respect. Magic sat back and waited for his opportunity to take the Lakers. The only way Jeanie could free herself from this Hollywood nightmare was to divorce all the men that have been in her life, starting with Phil Jackson. Phil was fired from the Lakers, and took the opportunity to join the New York Knicks front office.  What a garbage truck juice fire that has been. Jeanie got rid of Phil through a tweet, and with that transaction happening, Magic was only inching closer to his position. The Lakers hired Luke Walton as their head coach, and things seemed to be looking up for the coming season. Then, Kupchak and Buss decided that Loul Deng and Timofey Mozgov were the priorities of the free agent landscape. Magic continued to bash Jim Buss on Twitter as his timeline was becoming an actual deadline, and with the Lakers having a record that could ensure them a top 3 pick in this years draft, things were coming to fruition.

So yesterday, Jeanie freed herself totally. She rid herself of her basketball connections with Jim Buss, the man everyone in LA wants to blame for their recent struggles. She also fired Mitch who’s been at his position since 2000, and even some PR staffing. Jeanie cleaned house and aligned herself with a Laker great that would captivate the fan base and bring some much need flare back to the Lakers.

Think about it, who’s going to fire Jeanie Buss? Who’s going to fire Magic Johnson? Nobody, that’s who. Magic has another day or so to wheel and deal before the deadline, and will be the decision maker when it comes to player personnel. The Lakers were supposed to take a step forward this year, but there is no step forward if the management style continues to be the same as it has always been.

A sister fired her brother yesterday. The Lakers found a way to upstage the Knicks and the Kings at incompetence during a time in which the Knicks and the Kings were dominating the headlines for that very thing.