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Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak sticks up for boss Jim Buss

Mar 12, 2012, 11:54 PM EDT

Mike Brown poses with Jerry Buss, Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak after a news conference in Los Angeles Reuters

When somebody asks you how your boss is doing, what exactly are you going to say?

True or not there is only one answer and it’s the one Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak gave it when he sat down with the Los Angeles Times for a lengthy interview.

Jim Buss has become the guy Lakers fans like to blame for shaking up a contending team (which may have some validity). Kupchak’s point: Jim Buss is not new in the Lakers front office. He has been helping the team make decisions for years.

“Jim gets way too much criticism and not enough credit with the success this team has had,” Kupchak said. . “He is following in the footsteps of the most successful owner maybe of all time, which is hard to do. But since he’s gotten more and more involved, which has been about seven or eight years, we’ve had some pretty good moments.”

Buss was responsible for the Lakers’ ill-fated hiring of Coach Rudy Tomjanovich in 2004, but he also helped nudge the team into drafting Andrew Bynum in 2005. It’s too early to tell the results of Buss’ latest decision, hiring Mike Brown to succeed Phil Jackson, even though Kupchak and Jerry Buss claimed they also agreed with it.

There have been whispers (from good sources) that Kupchak is unhappy with his current working situation and may bolt for another team at the start of the year.

Maybe and maybe not, but Kupchak has always been about loyalty to the Lakers and the Buss family. He is the ultimate company man who would not step out of line and badmouth the team or organization in public. Not his style — he is old school that way. Which is a good thing.

But knowing that, what did you expect him to say about his boss?

As for Jim Buss, he will ultimately be judged against his father’s legacy, which may be unfair but is the reality.

  1. cosanostra71 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM

    Jim Buss gets a lot of “spit” as the newspapers say when quoting Kobe. Is all of it deserved? Probably not. But his need to put “his stamp” on the team is a bit troubling. It’s the same idea that Mark Cuban had, and it took that guy practically 15 years to win anything. Jerry Buss stepped back, let the basketball people take charge, and has won consistently because of it.

  2. sshameless - Mar 13, 2012 at 7:41 AM

    Let’s examine Jimmie’s decision making legacy thus far. Runs Phil Jackson and Brian Shaw out of town, hires clueless Mike Brown, throws a pride tantrum and gives Odom away for nothing to childishly show him who is boss, demands Bynum over Howard because he said yes when Kupchak said to draft him.

    He is more like a petulant Nero fiddling w/o a clue. Proof positive that silver spooned nepotism is always failure. Jeanne would have been a better choice. At least she is smart enough to listen to Phil.

  3. omniusprime - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Of course Kupcake has to say nice things about that moron Jim Buss or he won’t have a job. Both of these buffoons have ruined the Lakers and have given us Laker fans no hope of winning another championship anytime soon. Jeanie Buss has more basketball smarts than her dimwitted brother ever will. It was really stupid to erase Phil Jackson’s winning championships legacy and bring in that pathetic loser of a coach Mike Brown who has no clue about how to run an offense.

    The Laker’s front office needs an extreme makeover, fire Jim Buss, Mitch Kupcake and Mike Brown and bring in some competent talent who will return the Lakers to championship glory before Kobe retires or moves to another team!

    • stayhigh_247 - Mar 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      i agree, but I doubt Kobe would ever wear another jersey. relax Laker fans we’ve had lean years before, there is absolutely no way the Lakers become the Wizards. yes Jim Buss reminds me of Al Davis but it’s too soon to push the panic button just yet, we still have Kobe, Pau and Drew….not many teams have that kind of talent and good point guard changes everything (see Knicks)

  4. rod4real - Mar 13, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Jim Buss, and Mitch are clueless, since Jerry West has stopped giving advice-they’ve set out to do what the Bulls management did when their GM,single handed ended their streak before it was over. Lakers only need a point guard-Make the deal and get Derron Williams, without gutting the team. I think that Odom should have been packaged to make that happen- Jenny Buss should be in charge-she’s more personable and basketball knowledgeable-

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