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It’s time for Kobe, Jim Buss to sit down and talk

Feb 23, 2012, 1:36 PM EDT

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

You don’t treat your superstar like just another player.

There are only a handful — 10, maybe — truly transcendent talents in the NBA at any time, and if you are a team that has one (or more) on your roster, you don’t treat them like a D-League call-up. You let them know your plans for the organization, you make sure they learn about trades before they read about them online (and let them offer comment, even if it is ignored), you show them how much they mean to you.

Long-time Lakers owner Jerry Buss got that (remember the ground-breaking personal services contract he gave Magic Johnson?). Jim Buss, Jerry’s son and the guy running the organization now, does not seem to.

Kobe Bryant learned about the hiring of Mike Brown as coach on the Internet. He doesn’t know what is going on with the organization, so he lashes out and tells management to make a call on Pau Gasol — trade him or say there will be no trade.

Maybe it’s time Buss sat down with Kobe and explained to him the grand plan. If there is one. Here is what Kobe said, via the Los Angeles Daily News.

When a reporter asked him after the Lakers’ morning shootaround if it might be about time to meet with team executive Jim Buss to talk about the franchise’s direction, the face of the franchise said simply, “Um, perhaps.”

Mike Brown said he is in essentially the same boat, he is told by the front office what is going to happen with players, he’s not consulted on moves. Which is not the norm around the league.

A former Lakers star who had a great relationship with management — Magic Johnson — put it this way, via the Daily News.

“(Bryant) just wants to be informed as a team leader and a future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five championships to the Lakers,” Johnson said. “He wants more communication, probably like he did when Phil Jackson was here and he worked well with Mitch. I don’t think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship with Jim.

“What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team. Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK.”

Jim Buss is not talking — not to the media, the fans, his own coach or star player — and that creates uncertainty. What is the vision? Buss didn’t like Phil Jackson much and wiped all traces of him from the organization, but what is going to replace that? How?

Right now if there is a vision, a plan, it’s not clear. Buss needs to sit down with his superstar and explain what the plan is for the final few years of Kobe’s career. It’s how you treat a superstar.

  1. adamthompson24 - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Jimmy Buss would take him out for lunch….and then expect Kobe to pay

    • t16rich - Feb 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

      Kobe would have to borrow a little money from Vanessa to be able to afford both his dinner and Jim’s.

  2. 00maltliquor - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I don’t understand why Jerry just can’t step in for a quick second, seeing as how his franchise is being run into the ground, and give his son a swift spanking and a stern lecture on how the way things are supposed to be run properly.

  3. therealhtj - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Maybe, just maybe, Lakers management is doing what it needs to do for the post Kobe era.

    • limonadamas - Feb 23, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      I suppose that’s possible, but there’s a lot of bad mojo going on in Lakerland these days surrounding Jimmy. You don’t fire everyone without an explanation and keep everyone in the dark if you want to create a winning atmosphere.

      Ownership (good or bad) can definitely have a big impact on how a team performs: Steinbrenner, Jerry Buss, Mark Cuban, Arturo Moreno, Jerry Jones, Frank McCourt, Sarver, Sterling, James Dolan, Chris Cohan, George Shinn, the Maloofs… The list goes on. The Lakers are in trouble unless they can right the ship relatively soon.

  4. granadafan - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Jim Buss is another spoiled rich kid who was blessed to have born the son of a guy who built a corporation out of nothing instead of earning his position. Jim Buss hated Phil Jackson for his success and fired all of Jackson’s coaches and staff down to the therapy guys. What’s happened to the Lakers is the product of a terrible owner, even worse than the other crappy owner he shares the Staples Center with, Donald Sterling, and that’s setting some low standards.

  5. raven410 - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    There is always a spoiled idiot rich kid that takes over his father’s business and jacks everything up. We are all watching it first hand.

  6. southbeachtalent - Feb 23, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    This is gonna get ugly..

  7. mogogo1 - Feb 23, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    We’ve all seen this before. Spoiled rich kid born on third base but convinced he hit a triple. He hates reminders of past successes because it makes him feel inferior. He probably secretly hopes Kobe retires soon or demands a trade so the team can finally be completely his. Don’t expect any accountability on anything that goes wrong–that will all be the fault of the underlings and players.

  8. wfon1 - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    we saw this with the Dodgers. Great ownership but after that, the next owners ran the team to the ground. Laker season ticket owners will have something to say about this I hope. They usually do.

  9. progress2011 - Feb 23, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Look at the ” Royal Family ” ! NONE of them have done anything significant for centuries! Nonetheless, when one passes the torch, the recipient is still a King or Queen.

    So the argument Jim Buss is not deserving has been a continuing theme, since the beginning of time. BUT he is bestowed with all the power of the previous king ( in this case business owner ) had.

    It would be embarrassing if when Queen Elizabeth took the throne, she had to ask for approval from the servants and other help ( in this case kobe ).

    The truth of the matter is, as much as laker/ kobe fans support him, he is only an employee.

    Buss however undeserving writes his checks and at the end of the day, doesnt need to or have to ask kobe, phil jackson or any of his employees anything. It’s his show.

    I agree with therealhtj, maybe he is positioning the team for the post kobe era.

  10. akismet-9bfac212a93c64c2c1abe56138b8286a - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    Who’s Jim Buss? I know a Jeanie Buss and she can run the team better.

  11. glink123 - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Jim Buss will run the Lakers into the ground, wait for daddy to keel over dead, then sell the team so he can take his half of the cash and go blow it on skank hoes and blow.

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