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Jerry Buss likes his Lakers chances against Miami

Aug 18, 2010, 11:17 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for jbuss.jpgIt’s trendy now to say you didn’t watch “The Decision” because you had better things to do. Wash your hair, read “Ulysses” or whatever. But mature people like Shaq didn’t watch it.

Well, Jerry Buss did, as he told during a Lakers charity poker event.

“[It was] mixed emotions. My feeling was that he let down a lot of people and it seemed kind of sad. On the other hand, suddenly there’s this juggernaut out there that we have a chance to play against and that excites me, that really excites me because, quite honestly, I think we can beat them and I’m looking forward to playing them. Some of it was kind of excitement saying, ‘Oh boy, here’s a team that everybody put together as our next big opponent,’ but still I think Boston is pretty good and I think they’ve strengthened themselves by adding a couple centers. Orlando is still good and excellently coached. So I don’t think it’s automatic that Miami will be our biggest opponent come the end, but on the other hand, I must admit they have the world’s attention and that means we’re going to be on center stage when we get a chance to play them.”

The new superpower in the East would not be there without Buss — remember it was Buss who pulled Pat Riley out of his job as a color analyst on Lakers games and threw him in the coach’s seat. He pushed Riley into the role he has now as the master team architect. There are a whole lot of reasons Buss is in the Hall of Fame now, and Riley is one of them. And now Riley has a really good team.

Another reason Buss is in the Hall of Fame — he likes to win. A lot. So Riley’s summer just got him pumped up:

“Suddenly there’s this juggernaut out there that we have a chance to play against and that excites me, that really excites me because, quite honestly, I think we can beat them and I’m looking forward to playing them,” Buss said. “I don’t think it’s automatic that Miami will be our biggest opponent come the end, but on the other hand, I must admit they have the world’s attention and that means we’re going to be on center stage when we get a chance to play them.”

But Buss is pretty happy with his team too. They’ve won two titles and made some good off-season pickups.

“I’m very happy. I think Matt Barnes was a good addition. He’s a very tough, feisty type of guy and [Ron] Artest helped a lot and Matt Barnes will help some more. I think we needed a steady presence at guard, someone who’s had experience and can play and so [Steve] Blake fills that role quite nicely. The remaining piece was to get a center [in Theo Ratliff] that had some experience, hopefully a shot blocker, someone who could play an undetermined amount of minutes depending on Andrew Bynum’s health.”

One other thing of note, Buss is continuing to step away from the business and is leaving it to his children.

“I still talk to my son, Jimmy, at least twice a day. Some of those phone calls are as long as an hour and those phone calls, largely, the large portion of the content is basketball — what we should do, what we’re doing. So I think I’m pretty active, but I would say in terms of the decision, I would say 80 percent of it goes with Jim and I throw in my two cents here and there. But, pretty much, I’m on the listening end of a lot of things.

“For business purposes, I’m totally out of it. Jeanie operates the whole thing, just 100 percent. I still have my finger in with Jim, but not with Jeanie. Once in a great while I’ll talk business with her.”

  1. Lion Woods - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Jerry Buss is by far the greatest sports team owner in sports. He is super consistent in one thing and that’s winning. From the moment he stole Jabbar from Milwaukee and adding the best ever in Magic the Lakers set their course and sights on greatness and at the helm is Jerry Buss. Dr. Buss, anyway you could throw me a cool million? Just curious.

  2. dclakerfan - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Hey i’m not greedy jus hit me up with half a mill…but i do agree with lion Buss is a great owner who backs his team with his wallet and not the knowledge he thinks he has about this game(re:dan snyder). Let’s his people do their thing and continue winning.Keep up the great work Dr Buss see you in the championship ring in June for #3..

  3. Bill-Sonora - Aug 18, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Im so proud to be a Laker Fan. Glad to be livin in L.A.

  4. Dan Richards - Aug 18, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Can’t forget to mention his hiring the basketball ZenMaster Phil Jackson who does so like ‘three-peats’ and Rings and sweet things like Jeanie. Good Luck to you Lakers!
    Chicago Bulls Fan.

  5. george - Aug 18, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    This is going to be a fantastic season. With two super star teams Lakers and Heat……and several great teams; Boston, Orlando, Chicago. Lets get this season going!

  6. lakerfan12356 - Aug 19, 2010 at 4:21 AM

    you forgot KD and the thunder when you listed off several great teams…

  7. Omnius - Aug 19, 2010 at 9:55 AM

    Jerry Buss has been great as the owner of the Lakers over the decades and he knows his business. Better believe that the Lakers aren’t in awe of the new stuporstar team since they have the greatest player in the NBA in Kobe Bryant. The Lakers are battle tested and have proven their worth, the Heatstroke still need to prove they’re as good as their hype. As Pat Riley knows no rebounds no rings and Miami has a poor frontline with ancient Ilgauskus as their pathetic excuse for a center. The Repeat World Champion Lakers will Threepeat next June!

  8. john - Aug 19, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    nonsense. wade, james, bosh, miller all rebound their positions very soundly; had in haslem and what ever other body and they will hold their own. In fact, there will be even fewer rebounding opportunities because james, bosh, and wade are career 50% shooters. they all get to the line with wade and james near-leading the league in freethrow attempts
    kobe—though great—is in his 15th year, already showing he has slowed. he has a year or two left in the tank as a top level athlete. time/age catches us all. wade, bosh, and james are primetime. the lakers have title experience, coaching and confidence. miami will have home court because they will have the best record, speed, shear skill/talent, hunger, unselfish team, wade’s late game closing determination and the physics of james to the rim—-an unstoppable force. in fact james averages 30 points per game against artest (the best defender in the league at that position).
    with james at the point, miami wins the title at home when they get their first chance. that is why las vegas has them odds on to win it all. they know what is on paper.

  9. superfan24 - Aug 20, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    Wow John…I’ve never read so much BS. Just because YOU think that paper stats are worth so much, why don’t you just start printing your own money? First of all, you need to have a team that plays well together to even have a chance at a championship. Second, young teams rarely do well the first time around. Third, your “facts” about James and Artest are anecdotal at best. You really think that the Lakers will have Artest guard James and allow 30 points? Fourth, betting that Miami will win it all next season will hardly win you any money because of those same odds. Lastly, all the stats you mentioned are based on individuals that played on different teams. DON’T FORGET…there’s only one basketball in play at any time. I’d be surprised if Miami finds a way to share the ball properly next season.
    I’m not hating on Miami, I just don’t think that historical statistics, when simply added together, produce the right answer. Anyone remember when Bryant, O’Neal, Malone and Payton were on the same team? They didn’t win a championship that year and they had 4 superstars on their team.

  10. john - Aug 20, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Instead of basing one’s ideas on the toothfairy look at the statistical record. james historically has his way with artest, kobe or anyone la throws at him. wade also. they cannot now double either one of them consistantly because they are on the same team along with bosh.
    look at the last 5 years. check the numbers, no anecedotes needed. las vegas is a fact, these are smart people, they set the odds based on assessments of facts—nothing flemsy wherebillionsof dollars are involved.
    sure they were differnt teams, lesser teams. miami with wade averaging 30 per game against la in those games and nearly won both last year. this year you bring back 7 miami players and add 5 quality additions to the #3 defensive team in the NBA along with the mvp of the league and another allstar and you would have to be crazy if you did not say they had a very good chance of beating la. nothing is promised. everything will be won on the court. but be realistic here, la will have to beat a beater team to win the title which they are capable of. miami with james at the point have the edge on paper. until the end of the season every theing is on paper…
    you are hating. bryant, oneal, malone, payton is a poor example. these are disfunctional eclectic mixtures that still made it to the finals even with shaq/kobe selfishing fighting like children, an elderly malone injuried, and payton the point with absolutely no understanding of the triangle. boston in 2008 was closer butstill off. la handed that title over to detroit because of the internal mess caused by shaq/kobe. on he other hand these young men at miami are in their prime. they have won and lost together since 2004 olympics (wade, miller, james) and (bosh, james, wade) in 2008. they have shown they can play together. only injury stands in their way as is the case with la and bynum/kobe. anyone can blow out a knee.
    we’ll see. the money bets are on miami according to las vegas…

  11. Jason - Aug 20, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    I would love to understand what John is talking about, but his 8th grade level grammar and incoherent babbling simply make my brain hurt.
    Lakers in Six vs. Boston.

  12. superfan24 - Aug 20, 2010 at 2:28 AM

    LOL, don’t overextend yourself John. Look at it this way, if Miami doesn’t win, they’ll be the laughing stock of the whole sports world and you included. If your so called ‘paper’ is prophesy, then I suggest you bet your life in Vegas that Miami will win. If they do, I imagine you’ll make $5 at best. In order for others to believe what you’re saying, I suggest you change your name. So far, all I’m reading is $hI7 overflowing out of a crapper, or John, or whatever your name is.
    At this point, I actually hope Miami does win. If they don’t, I really wouldn’t want to be in their camp. The Lakers don’t have anything left to prove.

  13. john - Aug 20, 2010 at 8:36 PM

    another with absolutely no evidence and very little sound logic—left to check spelling and sentence structure… the point was to discuss the possiblities and probabilities surrounding the coming season with special focus on la and miami. all of this is hypothetical. next june will decide who is most accurate. my position is to give respect where its is due. no pettiness is required. wade, bosh, and james (2x-mvp)are formidable as opponents. barring injury they should win it all. that is a simple hypothesis based on their body of work the past 7 years. go look at it.
    having no evidence to support your arguments, you go to creating a paper tiger in boston—some old team (which is now older) you know la has already beaten. sure la will beat boston in its present state of degeneration/aging. with home court in the playoffs against any boston team, la will now win. my position is that if james runs the point, la and all other teams will not be able to match up. miami will run through the season and secure home court. then miami will do what the odds-makers—the experts—in las vegas say they will do: win the nba 2011 championship. in short my assessment is in line with most unbiased observers. but i forgot: you are merely a homer moonlighting as an english teacher for a sports blog…

  14. Winners - Aug 25, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    What body of work??? One NBA championship with everyone else on losing teams…. Champions are not made on paper if that were the case the Yankees would win the World Series every year. Miami needs to win BIG next year and the next and the next and the next… get it!!! Otherwise they have failed miserably… Magic never joined Jordan and they have 11 rings between them. The Lakers have 16 rings with Kobe winning five and I didn’t see him recruiting James or Wade!!! Yes SUPERSTARS which there are only three that come to mind… James has historically had his way??? Losing every year and never winning the big one??? Regular season does not mean a thing… Boston ate him for breakfast this past season. And what happenned with Orlando last year??? CHOKE!!! Luckily Wade will bail him out this year. Just a wannabee superstar… He is not even the MAN on his new team… HA HA!!!

  15. pete - Aug 26, 2010 at 1:38 AM

    Who is this John guy? Are you in love with a basketball team? You should be ashamed. Wade was given a championship when the refs cheated Dallas when the owner pissed them off. Did you see the game? I did. What about James. He should go hide his head in the sand. He quit!!! I saw the series. Did you? The guy has played for what going on 8 seasons and never won a championship. Why? He would rather look good first, then win. And Bosh? here’s a list of guys that will push his skinnny little behind all over the paint: Pau Gasol, KG, Boozer, Al Jefferson, Aldridge, and even the big funamental, Tim Duncan. I wouldn’t even consider him a superstar. He’s probably the 10th best power forward in the league if that. He cant play defense….we all know that. Same goes for Wade. He’s not a superstar. Keven Durant took that spot. The only ligit player on the Heat…. at times……LeBron. That’s it. And he cant win. Never has. King? First do something before you call yourself KING! That’s funny.
    I guess that’s why Bosh, Wade and LeBron weren’t embarressed to have a parade for themselves before actually winning the whole thing!!!!!

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