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Jerry Buss is not handing over the Larry O'Brien trophy to Miami. At least not willingly.

Jul 10, 2010, 3:15 PM EDT

jbuss.jpgGood luck prying the NBA title out of the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss was in Vegas to watch some Summer League ball (and play in the World Series of Poker; and probably not in that order) when Sam Amick from FanHouse asked him if LeBron James in Miami scared him at all.

You’re going to have to do better than that.

“Somebody in the East will come out, and our job is to beat them, whoever it is,” he said. “There are a lot of good teams over there. I don’t automatically hand them the title. I think Orlando is very good. I think Chicago is going to be better. Boston, certainly, is tough. We know about that. So let’s wait until things get going.”

With the Lakers, the core of the roster is set. Will be for a few more years. The only real big question is if Derek Fisher will join newly acquired Steve Blake in the backcourt. Fisher is meeting with Miami as well.

“We’re working on Fisher now and I think we’ll probably have him back in the fold soon,” Buss said.

Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was optimistic as well.

“I just continue to have a dialogue with (Fisher’s) representative,” he said. “Both sides are motivated, so we think it will work out. We hope so.”

Think about the Lakers/Heat matchup for a second. It could be fun. Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade matched up. Ron Artest defending LeBron James. Pau Gasol and Chris Bosh.

But here’s why the Lakers feel confident: Who matches up with Andrew Bynum? Who off the Heat bench can match up with Lamar Odom? Even if the Heat land Fisher, Blake is better than him right now.

And good luck prying the trophy out of Kobe Bryant’s hands. Jerry Buss should feel confident.

  1. bob - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Really? You’re going with Bynum and Odom as the key? I agree that Kobe/Gasol vs. Wade/Bosh is close (although the Heat have a small edge), but just brushing over the Lebron Artest matchup is hilarious. Best player in the game (albeit, huge dbag) vs. aging defensive stopper? Good writing yet again Kurt.

  2. Zack - Jul 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    Even if you give the edge to Lebron over Artest and he averages 30 points for a series- they need someone to guard Bynum, if not, he’ll live in the paint.
    And what happens when that trio need a rest? Who is going to be on the floor to keep the lead / stay close when the Laker’s 2nd unit is in the game?

  3. Brad - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Are you serious Zack? Resting doesn’t mean they all sit on the bench at the same time. Ron Artest did a very good job against Paul Pierce in the Finals this year and offensively was a huge reason they won Game 7. But LeBron James is not Paul Pierce. LeBron James, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, put opposing big men in foul trouble. The likelihood that Andrew Bynum will be able to stay on the floor for any amount of significant time against these three is a stretch, especially when watching the injury and foul troubles he had in this year’s playoffs. Lamar Odom coming off the bench does what exactly? He gives you the numbers of a very good third option. And that’s when he’s at his best. He was far from his best in this past year’s Finals. And a very good third option is not the same thing as Chris Bosh as a third option. Adding to that a core of shooters that can stretch the floor like Mike Miller, Raja Bell and possibly Jason Kapono or even Allen Iverson, and offense becomes that much easier to play. Do they need a defensive minded rebounding center? Absolutely. But with Ben Wallace, albeit aged a few years since glory with the 2004 Pistons, available, I can’t imagine that Miami won’t fill the role at the 5 to at least be serviceable against Bynum. Furthermore, we haven’t even talked about what the Lakers will do on offense. With a team of Mid-Level Exception talent and Dwyane Wade, the Heat were a very strong defensive team last year. Adding LeBron’s speed and athleticism for blocks and steals and Chris Bosh not having to guard centers and they become a very formidable team that everyone seems to write off. Couple that with being able to have rotations of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Mike Miller, Chris Bosh and the center of your choosing and you’re talking about a team who’s smallest guy is 6’4 yet still has a wingspan of 6’7+. If the Lakers are too big and too long for everyone else, they’ve never seen this kind of length, especially not coupled with the speed and athleticism on the Heat roster. Are the Lakers good? Absolutely, and until the Heat take the crown from the Lakers they are still the team to beat. But, there is something going on in Miami that the NBA has never seen and failing to beat Boston in 2008 may prove to be what keeps Kobe and Phil from having that last three-peat.

  4. MJ - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Andrew Bynum’s career playoff stats are 7.2 pts., 5.2 trb., and 0.4 ast. “2008 4.0, 4.6, 0.0″. “2009 6.3, 3.7, 0.4″. 2010 7.0 pts., 5.2 trb., 0.5 ast. It seems Andrew has an injury every year that keeps him from contributing much in the playoffs. If he continues in this cycle he will again be a non-entity in the playoffs. Counting the over-the-cap penalty Buss has to pay for going over the salary cap, Andrew is costing him a lot of money for not too much production. Better to get a good center that can stay healthy and contribute and another guard that can actually score a little and play some defense.

  5. Beaver Cleaver - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Even the undead are buying Heat tickets – the SHOCKING details are at:
    http://spnheadlines.blogspot.com/2010/07/zombies-swamp-miami-as-lebron-fever.html
    Peace! :-)

  6. Craig W. - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    We’ve never seen the like…the three Amigos???
    What about Bird, McHale, Parrish or Kareem, Magic, Worthy; how about any of the entire ’60 Celtic teams?
    Just because ESPN wasn’t around then doesn’t mean there haven’t been really good trios of players. The key will be how the team operates – see the Lakers and Celtics of recent years.
    I don’t want to downgrade what Pat Riley has done in Miami, but lets wait to see how they play. Actually, let’s wait to see how they play in the playoffs – we saw how 60 win teams from Cleveland have done the last two years.

  7. Sal - Jul 10, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Wow, can I believe what you Moron’s are saying? NO! Clearly you are mesmerized about the new ” 3″ in Miami; I, as a big Lakers fan,says SO WHAT! What has Chris Bosh won? Lebron? Nothing! If you are talking about that Gold Medal that the 3 new Amigos won? If that’s the case, don’t forget who was the one orchestrating that Magic ride, that’s right, KOBE. Now, back to reality, I totally agree with what Mr. Buss said, I’m sure is not like the other teams in the East are going to bend there ass over and say okay, we are too scared to face you. Do you know what happens when you have 3 Stars like that. One eventually is going to feel left out. What’s gonna happen when Wade gets all the accolades and then your Egomaniac boy, LeBron, gets his feelings hurt. Is he going to go cry to his Momma? Pat Riley is no going to kiss Lebron’s ass. I can already see it, when things go South, ( no pun intended ), LeBron James will make another excuse; will have another “elbow” injury, will blame everyone except himself. This is what’s gonna happen, in two years when their failed experiments takes fruition, they will ship Lebron’s ass out of there. Why? last I check, those that win multiple champions, like the Bulls, the Celtics, the Spurs, and the Lakers, have one Big thing in common, SIZE. In the form of two talented 7 Footers. With the best player in the planet playing for L A , Kobe will guide the Mother Ship back to 3 peat land once again. If you don’t like it, DEAL WITH IT. Did I say that too loud? YES I DID!

  8. Steve - Jul 10, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Brad,
    That is some of the most amazing wishful thinking I’ve ever heard. Are you serious??? You’ve already god Raja on the team? What’s he going to play for, the chance to sit next to King James?? Kapono won’t come for the league minimum. Alan Iverson – there’s a great addition when there already isn’t enough ball to go around. I honestly don’t believe the heat have what it takes to get beyond the Eastern Conference finals. How you could possibly think they will be a great defensive team defies all logic. Yes, LBJ can make some great blocks, he just can’t guard someone man to man. Bosh will never make anyone forget Bill Russell. DWade has some great skills, but defensively, he can’t do it on his own. I can hardly wait until next year. My prediction, the Heat experiment will go down in history as one of the great busts.

  9. Brad - Jul 10, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    You’re absolutely write. LeBron James on a team alone hasn’t been able to get past the size of Tim Duncan, Dwight Howard and the Boston Celtics. But this isn’t just LeBron James. Hell, this isn’t even just LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. This is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade AND Chris Bosh maneuvering in space because of guys like Mike Miller.
    You can invoke the names of the three best players and future Hall of Famers to try to compare this team of all star and superstar talent. What you can’t do is legitimately claim that those trios were comprised of guys only in the prime of their careers and coming off the best season any of them had. Dwyane Wade and LeBron James are two of the best three players in the NBA. Never has a team put two of the top three players in the league at any given time on the same team. Couple that with another guy who requires a double team when he’s not with these guys, but still scores 24 points per game, and NO. Sorry, but the league has never seen this. The closest is probably the Showtime Lakers of the early 80s when Kareem was still a very difficult cover on the block. But Wade is certainly closer, especially in the playoffs, to Michael Jordan than he is to James Worthy, and Mike Miller will stretch the floor better than Norm Nixon.

  10. Jay C - Jul 10, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Lmao Off @ this Writer And these Laker Fans Comments… As a Heat Fan Let Me Say This.. u Are the Champions And will be to someone beats you Kobe is the best player in the game.. and Pau is Pretty much the best big man..But lets clear this up lamar odom,ron artest,and pau gasol won nothing before they got there. so dnt tell me bosh is a bum becuz hes neva won anything.. Lebron EFFIN ABUSED the Lakers Last Year Remember that lakers fans? Dwayne wade has always played well against kobe.. Soo answer me this …. Ill give you Pau and Bynum Doubling Bosh And ill Give u Artest being Devoted to Guard Lebron… But As i Much Respect Kobe… Are u Tellin Me That he Will Have The Energy 2 guard Wade On every Possesion hes in the Game? and still Have Enuff energy 2 score the 25-30 points needed to Win? Because last year Artest guarded him most of the time…And As We All Kno Which Odom and Bynum Show Up? Good or Bad or Hurt? Becuz they DO have a tendency to dissapear in Big Games sometimes And if That happens the Lakers are in trouble… That bein said.. I CANNOT wait till the NBA season starts… these games will be Off tha Charts

  11. Brad - Jul 10, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Let me address something real quick about their role players. First, Raja Bell has wanted to play in Miami since before last season ended and he said so publicly. He said he would take less money to play there and he’d be fine coming off the bench. And now that Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh are there, he is a slam dunk. He is from the Miami area, so this isn’t wishful thinking. Jason Kapono has a history with Miami and winning there. He shot 52% from beyond the arc for the Toronto Raptors. No space needed and he drills them. Giving him an opportunity to take open look threes for a championship contender and he’ll at least be interested in coming back. Allen Iverson is an option if Kapono doesn’t come back. In 25 games for Philly last year, AI’s game looked a lot different than the 20+ shot needing player he was against the Lakers in the Finals in 2001. He can facilitate and pass or be a viable SG option with Mario Chalmers. Furthermore, he doesn’t need to give up a ton of shots either. This team has a legitimate shot of running up the score in the first three quarters and giving their bench players significant minutes. Should that happen, AI could be the shot taker in those garbage minutes and would play very well against bench players. While this is all speculative since its only on paper and we haven’t seen them play yet, you have to admit that you haven’t seen them play either to discount them the way Jerry Buss or Otis Smith is. The reactions from outside of Miami are defensive posturing from probably everyone except Kobe (who is, and always will be, one of my all-time favorite players), but everyone in every building they travel to this year will fear embarrassment before the tip off. And most likely after the game, too.

  12. josh - Jul 10, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    uh, Hello? McFly??? don’t you remember the Lakers last 3peat, with Shaq and Kobe?

  13. LJ - Jul 10, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    Just for the record, I keep hearing these commentators say how players will go to the Heat to play for less money to be on a championship team. That scenario doesn’t happen very often. If it did then teams like the Lakers, Celtics, Magic, and even the Cavs when they had Lebron, would be able to get some good players at cut rate prices. Not gonna happen.

  14. Brad - Jul 10, 2010 at 6:27 PM

    What about the Shaq/Kobe Lakers?
    And LJ, you can “keep hearing” it without seeing it, but what I see is that with this team, LeBron, Dwyane, Bosh, Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem are doing it. Raja Bell has committed to doing it if the Heat will have him. Ben Wallace did it for the Detroit Pistons taking $800k instead of the veteran minimum of $1.4M. Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen just took less money in the name of team. Just because guys like Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire seek the max, doesn’t mean everyone else does.

  15. conchefritter - Jul 10, 2010 at 7:49 PM

    RuPaul Bosh put up nice numbers in obscurity and can’t play defense or carry a team past one playoff win in years. LeBron can’t/won’t carry a team. It’s Wade’s team. ESPN will continue the lap-dog act and run all highlight reels nightly. But anything short of a championship and they’re failures. Remember: No depth. Nobody can get hurt (elbow!) Who rebounds/plays defense for a living? Last shot tough game? A deep team that can pack the middle and hack the slashers will wear them down, if lose most of the time (none are above-averge mid-range shooters, as MJ made himself one). 82 games. 100+ to championship. Everyone will gun for them, every night, and they’re hated in every visiting arena. And the 3 mercenary amigos will have to do 38-40 minutes most games. It’ll be fun to watch, especially if Riley steps down to coach with a pixie dust to fill out a roster. After all, the South Beach Heat have blown pass the Steinbrenner Yankees as the most hated mercenary team evah. Great drama before the lockout next summer.

  16. JD - Jul 10, 2010 at 11:14 PM

    “Lebron abused the Lakers last year”…..really? The last time I checked, Queen James has never met the Lakers in the playoffs (No, regular season doesn’t and will never count)…

  17. JD - Jul 10, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    …”This is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade AND Chris Bosh maneuvering in space because of guys like Mike Miller.”….
    Has Chris Bosh all of a sudden been transformed to Karl Malone in his prime or Dwight Howard? Boozer is a better player than Chris Bosh and Gasol ate Boozer for lunch..easily. No, the self styled “King” James, Dwade “AND Bosh” as you put it will not be enough to get by the Celtics or Magic, let alone the Lakers.

  18. Papichu - Jul 10, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    do you remenber that the lakers had a dream team? kobe, shaq, malone, payton,fisher or fox, so when you say Never has a team put two of the top three players in the league at any given time on the same team, you need to check the history of the nba.
    to me, people need to stop comparing lebron to jordan because he just proved that he could never be the next michael nor kobe. jordan made chicago his home and won championships, kobe did it with the lakers, duncan did it with san antonio, wade did it with miami, but lebron failed to prove he is capable of doing that. as a matter of fact, he should no longer be called “king” for he went to miami to play at wade’s house and under wade’s rules. what kind of king doesn’t have a home(castle) of his own?

  19. Joax - Jul 10, 2010 at 11:38 PM

    look… what it will all come down too is the bench play..Kobe will get his more often than Wade will.kobe will have to guard Wade..but do you forget Wade has to guard him!!.. ..Lebron will get his over artest….. Gasol is too talented a scorer for bosh to shut down.. ..either way Cant Wait.. We hold the Crown.. it’s funny how they are already Diva’s … Miami in Heat!.. new reality show. starring the 3 divas… LCD….ha ..til Then We remain Champs..GO LAKERS!

  20. JD - Jul 11, 2010 at 12:00 AM

    That’s why his nickname should be changed to Queen James..cuz he’s in Wade’s house! How is Bosh and James gonna like it when Wade shows off his 2006 championship ring and makes it known that he’s option #1, James is #2 and Bosh is #3. Good thing they got those opt outs in 2014

  21. LJ - Jul 11, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    What the F are you talking about. Mike Miller will get what he would have got with any other team, Haslem won’t take less than he would with any other team, Paul Pierce will get more than he could have got with any other team, same with Ray Allen, Dirks taking about ten percent less than the maximum, but with a longer contract, Raja Bell is probably worth about 1.5 at this point in his career, Ben Wallace left the Pistons after winning a champioship, to get paid 15 million dollars a year. Get real. So the big three are going to take a 10 percent wage cut the first year, they will make that up in endorsments and shoe contracts.

  22. Celtics pride - Jul 11, 2010 at 12:49 AM

    The Celtics now have huge competition in the East.
    However, I think the Heat will not beat the Celtics this year at least.
    I think the Celtics will have revenge on the Lakers in 2011 and in the next few years it is an ALL OUT MIAMI show.
    As a true Celtic fan, I hate the Lakers and obviously think the CELTICS are the best franchise.
    However, I have a lot of respect for Pat Riley and I hope he can beat Phil Jackson’s team and win more championships than him.
    Phil Jackson is a great coach, but Red Auerbach still is the greatest in history.
    Kobe is overrated, James is ridiculously overrated.
    I like Wade, he is not only underrated, but even Andrew Bynum made more money than him last year. Talk about how much T-Mac makes ….
    Wade is going to be the best player after his career out of LeBron and Carmelo
    Wade is going to be the NBA’s next BIG thing.
    Oklahoma has a good chance of dethroning the Lakers as the team of the West.
    As a Celtics fan, I will love to see the Lakers lose. No true Celtics fan likes the lakers and especially not a team that is a mock-up of the Chicago Bulls.

  23. Salty - Jul 11, 2010 at 1:46 AM

    The class of the NBA are the Lakers and Celtics. These three clowns have’nt done a thing except run they’re mouths.As a Laker fan I consider the Celtics our enemy but they are respected by the Laker fans. They are a class organization.These three clowns are a NBA embarrasment.I can’t believe Pat riley was part of this.First get by the Celtics and then we will see how things go.
    SEE YOU IN JUNE CELTICS.

  24. Kirk - Jul 11, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,
    This is one of the times I agree w/you.
    Let’s keep this our little secret.
    In the words of the great P. T. Barnum
    “NEVER give a SUCKER an even break” !
    And we’ve got a ton of ‘em here talkin bout the Heat !
    Just the motivation the Lakers need for #3 !
    Let’s hear what the suckers, I mean Miami fans, have to say after the finals ….. and after we get ALL their $$$$$$$

  25. Hoops McCann - Jul 11, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    Celtic Pride -
    It’s understandable that you hate the Lakers and all but get real. Pat Riley get more championships than Jackson? He needs 6 more just to tie and Jackson’s not even done yet.
    Kobe is overrated? He’s been the best all around player in the NBA for 10 years and has been to 7 of the last 10 Finals – winning 5 for Petes sake! He’s number one in the minds of every coach and every player in the NBA with maybe a few exceptions. He was the Alpha-Dog on the team that had LeBron, Wade, Carmelo, and Bosh and led all of them to the Gold Medal. Ask them! They all said HE MADE THEM BETTER!
    Oklahoma has a good chance of dethroning the Lakers this year? What, like 1 in 14? (current vegas odds to win title) That’s good?
    Wade is underrated? Everyone I’ve heard puts him as the number 1, 2, or 3 player in the NBA depending where they put Kobe and LeBron. How is that underrated?
    And as far as the best franchise, I respect your love for and loyalty to the Celtics. But if we don’t go back to ancient history and just deal with the last 30 years – the Lakers have won 10 titles to the Celtics 4 and have beaten the Celtics 3 of the last 5 times they’ve played for the title. In the modern era anyway it’s an open and shut case.

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