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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. Hoops McCann - Jul 11, 2010 at 3:00 AM

    And regarding the new Miami Heat – IMHO everyone is going to have a tough time beating Miami but let’s not forget that it’s defense and rebounds that wins rings, not scoring potential. I don’t see Miami outrebounding the Lakers if Bynum is healthy. Remember, he is only 21, is really getting better every year, and has never played in the Playoffs when he wasn’t injured. The guy who posted his playoff stats above was misinforming when he didn’t point out that he only averaged less than 15 minutes a game and was badly injured. So if healthy, you can easily more than double them. Of course, with Bynum that’s always going to be an if.

  2. Eric of Melbourne - Jul 11, 2010 at 5:05 AM

    A championship team needs 1 or 2 superstars to win the big one, no question.
    But you also need a lot of “dive on the floor” grunt players such as Derek “5 rings” Fisher – guys like Kurt Rambis, and virtually anyone who ever played for a Boston Celtics championship team.
    3 superstars? It will be fun to watch, for sure!
    But here’s a tip: Gasol LIKES it when Kobie yells at him. Will Wade enjoy it when Lebron yells at him? Or vice-versa?
    We’ll see!

  3. Lakers 3peat - Jul 11, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    I see that you’re still heartbroken over that game 7 loss..typical boston celtics fan that you are, you must feel that they got cheated somehow…good luck with your ever aging roster this year, I doubt you can get past the Magic again, just hope “Sheed” doesn’t cramp up again in a series-deciding game.

  4. Lifi - Jul 11, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    Big Laker fan. Grown to like Kobe. But even I must admit the Heat are instantly the team to beat. They will now win a few championships. But it won’t mean anything. Lebron showed his immaturity and lack of understanding of basketball history. The true greats would never sell out to a stacked team. Imagine Magic signing with Bird. They would have won 10 championships but it would be pointless.

  5. brad - Jul 11, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    First off, I think everyone needs to give up this “real champions don’t leave their teams” argument. Take a look at the length of time those champions were on a team before they were successful. Magic Johnson won as a rookie. Larry Bird won after spending only two years on the same team. Kobe Bryant won after three years. Tim Duncan won a championship in his third season. It took MJ 7 years, but signed an 8 year deal in 1988, so he never had the option to leave until after he won a championship. Finally, with Hakeem Olajuwan, he is the example of sticking it out with one team to be rewarded after such a long tenure on one team. But he had very early success losing to the eventual champion in the playoffs in his first three years. Because of injury problems with Sampson, the Houston Rockets traded him away to build around Olajuwan and signed him to a long contract. And after demonstrating that loyalty and delivering those championships in Houston, how was he rewarded? He was traded to Toronto in what proved to be his last season keeping him from retiring as a Houston Rocket.
    Secondly, I can’t help but laugh at this role-players argument. You don’t even know what role-players will be on the team, how can you compare them to anything yet? Secondly, my point is that each of those three guys garners a double team when they play individually because they consistently beat single-coverages. My point is that putting them all on the same team means that defensively teams can no longer double team any of them and they will benefit from that. And they won’t be the only ones. Role-players will benefit from the extra space when shooting or receiving a pass. I also love how you guys complain about the Heat depth when you lost Farmar, Shannon Brown and possibly Derek Fisher. The addition of Steve Blake means Kobe is going to have to play more of a point scorer unless they get Fisher back.
    Finally, I can’t believe everyone still talks about this lack of a match up on Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. Did anyone else watch the playoffs the last two years? Andrew Bynum, when he’s not having injury problems, and Dwight Howard get into notorious foul trouble. Two quick fouls and they’ll be sitting on the bench watching the highlight reel showcase. And then what happens to the Magic? What happens to the Lakers? Lamar Odom comes off the bench early and has to log more minutes than he should. And if anyone in the league is a good match up against Odom its Bosh, who will get to match up against him while Gasol moves to the 5. Furthermore, think about the rotations. The Heat could easily just sit LeBron when Kobe sits. Leaving Dwyane Wade and Bosh on the floor, but no Kobe or Artest to defend them. Jackson would have to sit Artest when LeBron sits because otherwise he’d be a ridiculous matchup problem for anyone else.
    Look, the Lakers are fantastic. And no one really thinks they aren’t going to come out of the West. But Pat Riley made the Showtime Lakers the Showtime Lakers. Don’t be angry that he’s doing it again in a different city with a younger team that will be able to do it longer.

  6. brad - Jul 11, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    And one more thing about the defense. As good as Ron Artest was at Defense, LeBron James took his place on the All-Defensive team this year. Dwyane Wade was on the All-Defensive team as well. Signing a dedicated defending big man to clog the lane and focus on rebounding while not needing to do much of anything on offense would be all we’re looking for. Best fit could really be Zydruns Ilgauskas, who has a very good mid range jump shot outside of the paint, is 7 feet and anchored one of the best defensive teams in the NBA the last two seasons. He has already contacted the Heat knowing that they can only offer the veteran minimum and wants to play.

  7. Albert - Jul 11, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    It is funny how too many people are talking about Miami Heat as the next champions without having any concerns about the Celtics. Yes the celtics are aging some, but they have Allen vs. Wade, Pierce vs. James, Bosh vs. Garnett. We have seen both Wade and James knock out of the playoff by the celtics. Who is going to guard Rondo? Jermain Oneil is added to the celtics as well. He is not the star like he used to be, but he’s got talent. With the big 3 healthy and the others around them as well. The Celtics are still the team to beat. I am sure the Lakers will not start the season or the playoff without another addition to the team. It will not be the Heats turn just yet!

  8. Lakers4Lyfe - Jul 11, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    See you for the finals next June Celtics:)

  9. bard - Jul 11, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    The problem with the Celtics is that they lose every single one of those match ups. They will need to play tremendous team defense because they can’t match up individually. Yet Wade and James are terrific passers at their positions in traffic. Which means, team defense is going to leave a number of people wide open. As to the Jermaine O’Neil issue: First, he was terrible in the playoffs. Second, he wouldn’t sign with the Mavs because he wanted to be the starter. He’ll get to start in place of Perkins at the start of the season, but what kind of locker room guy is he going to be when Perkins comes back and he goes to the bench? My guess is that he bites his tongue because Garnett would rip his head off, but there will be some quiet dissension. Third, what made Rasheed Wallace so valuable to the Celtics last year was his ability from the center position to shoot from the 3-point line, pulling defending post players out of the paint and allowing your back up scorers like Nate Robinson and Tony Allen to slash to the basket where they have success. Jermaine clogs the middle for those guys. The Celtics are a completely different team without Rasheed Wallace, and they are an older team.

  10. Salty - Jul 11, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    Hello Albert: It will be the Lakers and the Celtics in the finals, as it should be.No dog and poney show will beat the Celtics.

  11. dclakerfan - Jul 11, 2010 at 6:30 PM

    Thanks to Dwade,James, and Bosch the NBA has been turned into the JBA…Joke Basketball Association. They have shown total disrespect and made a mockery of a ‘game’ that has made them rich and famous worldwide..idols to our youth who are easily manipulated thru radio and sports.. I bet they didn’t think about that. Those that wanted to be like Mike like Majic and Bird and Robinson made something of themselves. Wanting to be like the KNUCKLEHEAD 3 in south florida are only setting themselves up for doom..and I truely hate to say that. I do hope that i am wrong but history does repeat itself over and over. We pay hi dollar for tickets and jerseys to support our favorite players and this is how they act??? I am curios what the Dr. is feeling right now??

  12. rc - Jul 12, 2010 at 4:02 AM

    If Bynum is healthy and the Heat don’t add Shaq, the Lakers should be able to take them in 2011. The Lakers have too many talented bigs. In 2012 and beyond, as the Heat continues to add pieces, they will become a true threat. I want the Lakers to get to 17 titles this coming season before the Heat team comes together.

  13. DamnRight - Jul 12, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Here is why the Lakers were able to win back-to-back championships… they have TEAM CHEMISTRY!!!! That’s what you need to win these days. Which is why the Miami Heat won’t win it all THIS YEAR! Lebron doesn’t know what Wade is gonna do, vice versa. Gasol will dominate Bosh.. he punked Garnett in the finals. LAKERS will 3 peat 4sure!!

  14. Anonymous - Aug 6, 2010 at 1:37 AM

    Let’s see if Miami can even get out of the East. I see I valid point to the argument of Lakers and Heat match up, in regards to the foul trouble that the heat may put up against the Lakers. However, the bigs of Heat will also commit fouls, especially Bosh against Gasol. When the heat’s bigs are in foul trouble. Who will defend and rebound. Big Z against Gasol? Look at what Perkins’ injury did to the Celtics. This is an example of why the role at 4 and 5 position cannot be easily dismissed. Plus, there has never been a team other than Bulls who won without a top 3 big men in the league.I don’t think Chris Bosh is there because of his defense and rebounding. Chris Bosh will have his hands full. I think the Heat will eventually win many championships down the road once the figure out a discipline scheme to incorporate Wade and James.

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