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Jim Buss says he was wrong for not bringing Kobe into coaching decision

May 29, 2011, 11:32 AM EST

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant talks during a news conference after the Lakers were knocked out of the NBA basketball playoffs in Los Angeles AP

File under “things which would have been good to think about five days ago.”

The Los Angeles Times sat down with Lakers VP Jim Buss who has been running the show and making decisions significantly different from how his dad has handled things over the last few years. They asked specifically about the hiring of Mike Brown, and how Kobe Bryant was not brought in on the decision, and subsequently “surprised.” Buss, instead of holding firm to the party line, broke out the ol’ truth stick.

“Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe,” Buss says. “Kobe said it was management’s job to pick a coach. He just said, ‘Defense first.’ That’s what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.”

via Lakers: Jim Buss has all the answers about the Lakers – latimes.com.

The Times didn’t ask if he had apologized to Bryant, but you can probably assume. Bryant will play for anyone, but only in the way Bryant plays for anyone. He broke off plays, ignored the offense, and did his own thing under Phil Jackson, the most successful coach in NBA history. The odds of him somehow reigning it in under Mike Brown, who couldn’t control LeBron James in any facet of reality, are low.

There’s an uneasiness among the Laker faithful about the direction of the team under Jimmy B. He hasn’t proven he knows what he’s doing, and his decisions run counter to those of the past ten years… decisions which have brought, you know, titles, and lots of them. The clear and succinct departure from the Phil Jackson regime in particular reeks of hubris in the face of daunting counter-evidence of success. How Buss handles upgrading the team going forward, as well as the Brown hire, will provide the reality of how the new kid will do with the reins.

For his part, Buss is denying that he is “in charge,” instead saying all decisions are made between Buss, the elder Buss, and GM Mitch Kupchak.Word from multiple media outlets is that the kiddo is still the one pushing the buttons at this point.

  1. cup0pizza - May 29, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    So sick of everyone putting on the kneepads for Kobe.

    • lakesidelakersfan - May 29, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      It’s more of a courtesy than asking permission on the hire. I’m pretty sure that any team with a legitimate superstar (and what i mean by legitimate is not a whiner) would like his opinion.

      • saveusterrelldavis - May 29, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        Kobe’s a legitimate superstar, but Kobe’s also a legitimate whiner.

      • lakesidelakersfan - May 29, 2011 at 3:50 PM

        The young Kobe, even through the Shaq era, (i think most of the off the court hostilities were hollywood, less the time he drove the hooker bus over shaq) was a primadona. Now he is a true leader.

  2. opshuns - May 29, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    Consult him why? Is a part owner?
    Since the days if the Walter Dukes, basketball was evoluted into a world of prima donnas.

    Thank GOD for baseball.

  3. gunner1970 - May 29, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    Seriously!!! I think when you let players dictate the direction of the team, the team is lost and ego’s take over. Sure take the players thoughts and concerns into account, but, to actually consult them as to who their superiors should be, not a chance! Just think of all the chaos that would be present you all you people at work had a strong voice in who your upper management should be. We’d have corporations failing left and right.

    • kilo0986 - May 29, 2011 at 3:02 PM

      We do….

    • tricwhyte - May 29, 2011 at 4:45 PM

      Unfortunately your response reflects a fair amount of ignorance. It’s about building the most effective *team* which should involve the consultation of your leaders whether they are business leaders or technical leaders.

      People need to stop focusing on all of this over-sensationalized hype surrounding personalities like Kobe and realize that he’s probably one of the smartest players in the league, he’s arguably the most passionate and dedicated player in the league and he’s been with the organization longer than most. On so many levels it makes sense to consult him. As a decision maker (Buss), consulting others like Kobe doesn’t imply he has to follow their advice and it certainly doesn’t imply these individuals would/should dictate the direction of the organization.

      Building an effective organization and an effective team involves having an overall leader who is an effective listener too. I thought this was common sense but apparently I was wrong.

    • musilly - May 29, 2011 at 5:56 PM

      Great job reading what you wanted to read. To have brought Kobe into the process wouldn’t have necessarily meant having Kobe “dictate” the decision. If more people knew how to read, maybe we wouldn’t have “corporations failing left and right” (which is itself a misreading).

  4. chargerdillon - May 29, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    Winning 5 rings will do that for you, simple question for you… How many coaches have statues out in front of arenas and how many players have statues outside of the arenas.

    There’s your answer on how decisions are made

  5. goforthanddie - May 29, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Ideally, you’re hiring a coach you think will be around long after Kobe’s body quits, so Kobe’s input isn’t required.

    • 00maltliquor - May 29, 2011 at 5:50 PM

      Come on, man…how many coaches do you know that’ve lasted longer then at least 4 measly years? MILK has a longer shelf life!

  6. mytthor - May 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    The idea that a superstar player shouldn’t be consulted when hiring a coach comes from the idea that the coach is “in charge.” Because that’s the way it is in college, and high school. It’s not in the NBA. It’s just not true anymore. Players look at game film, study trends, and all the like. Yes the coach provides the general game plan and team concept, but the coach in the NBA is more akin to a coach in a sport like tennis or golf than baseball or football. It’s more of a “here’s what I think we should work on, here’s what we should do” sort of thing. Even a coach that runs a playbook almost always has a point guard or other great player calling the plays on the court. That’s generally not possible with those other team sports, except in rare circumstances (Greg Maddux calling his own pitches, Peyton Manning, etc). In the NBA guys are always talked about as team leaders or alpha dogs, what possible sense does it make to call a guy a team leader and give him no input on the direction of the team?

    • mytthor - May 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

      One other point, coaches in the NBA who don’t have that sort of style, but do micromanage every possession, generally last about 1 1/2 seasons.

  7. qwicwted - May 29, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    When did Kobe become part owner of the Lakers? When did he become boss? Is there something going on that we don’t know about?

  8. rreducla1 - May 30, 2011 at 2:57 AM

    Always a thrill when HaterBoys like Moore write about Kobe Bryant. Moore is sort of an angry version of the flipside of all those guys on the ESPN message boards who still think Bryant is better than Jordan and James. Having him write about the Lakers is kind of an embarrassment, but that is the way it goes.
    Moore, like Abbott, never responds on here. Good thing. Admitting bias is tough for guys like him. His stuff about other teams is OK.

    ___

    As to the Buss/Brown/Bryant stuff, like a few people have said, consulting Bryant would have been a courtesy. End of story.

  9. flip2300 - May 30, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Im sorry this dude has been the biggest “GIRL” for lack of a better word..in the NBA..when the “F” did he become part of management..Shut up and play ball thats why they pay you bug bucks…why not consult with the rest of the players on the roster…

  10. danj3678 - May 30, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    I give him 2 years.. MAX!!!! Brown is the fall guy for the Lakers. I like him. He is actually a nice guy. His son plays (or i should say played now) basketball at the rec with us from time to time and MB volunteered to help coach my old highschool football team after he was done with the cavs. He cares about the city, it’s youth, and the people around here. LA is getting a stand up guy and a class act, but he just is not a good HC. They woudl have been better to hire him as an assistant IMO.

  11. risingsun83 - May 30, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    What do you guys think about larry.brown????

  12. fouldwimmerlaik - May 31, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Dang right it was a bad move not to include Kobe. Kobe is one of the most brilliant basketball minds in the game. Why else would he have purposefully lost in the playoffs this year so he could rest up for a championship run next year. By not including him in the decision, the whole plan could have been jeopardized. But, Kobe will always adapted, improvise and overcome. He is that great.

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