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Lakers owner Jim Buss says don’t expect big moves

Jun 20, 2012, 9:30 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

Two straight years the Lakers have been ousted in the second round. They still have Kobe Bryant and while he’s closer to the back end than the front end of his career he still was almost the league scoring champion. They have two All-Star caliber big men, maybe it is time to move one and get the pieces needed so the Lakers can compete with the young and still improving Thunder. Right?

Not so much.

That is what Jim Buss — the son of longtime owner Jerry Buss and the guy steering the Lakers ship now — told T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times. Simers asked Buss what were the odds Kobe, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum would all start next season as Lakers.

“Very good,” says Buss.

The Lakers don’t need to move a big to get pieces that fit better in Mike Brown’s offense?

“No,” he says. “I think changes are going to be made moving Pau lower to the basket. We can improve that way with a change in coaching strategy rather than a change in personnel.”

This might be a smoke screen, there is some buzz around the league the Lakers are willing to move Gasol in particular. But they also want more back than other teams might be willing to give back.

Last season Gasol’s game suffered as Mike Brown moved him more to a facilitator at the elbow and let Bynum — and sometimes Kobe — dominate the low bock. The idea of moving Gasol down there more sounds good, but if you have two bigs near the basket you have a crowd (and a defense that can easily pack the paint). I’d be interested to see what “coaching strategy” will change this.

Is Kobe good with standing pat?

“He’s already had lunch with Mitch [Kupchak], and from what I’m hearing Kobe is pretty satisfied with this team. If I heard differently from Kobe, it would put some doubt into what I was thinking. But I’m hearing he believes this team kept together can do something. And he’s only got a short window of time remaining to win championships, so apparently he believes this group gives him the best chance to do so.”

You’re going to have to put a lot better pieces back around your three stars to make that work (and even then I have my doubts).

Buss said he wants to bring back Ramon Sessions, who played well for the Lakers in the regular season (better than Derek Fisher) but seemed wide-eyed in his first playoff appearance ever.

Buss sounds like he is going to stick to his guns — the Lakers went a radical new direction after Phil Jackson left. That’s fine. The Lakers won one more playoff game last year than in Jackson’s last year.

But this roster still seems an uncomfortable fit with Brown’s offense and it’s hard to see how bringing the same group back means things will be different. The Lakers already come with high expectations, and there will be added pressure because next season the other team in their building could step forward and be the second best team in the West.

It’s going to be an interesting summer and next season in Los Angeles.

  1. paulhargis53 - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    ahahahahaha. None of you would listen to me. Get ready for a 5 or 6 seed next year and an exit in the 1st round!

    It’s all about money. 56 mil tied up in 3 guys. No depth. No more rings for the rapist!

    • therealhtj - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:00 PM

      More like 62 mil. It’s even worse.

  2. redscarfunion - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Nba sucks so rigged! Lost alot of credibility when they allowed heat to load up! Full of criminals too! There’s a reason college basketball is more popular then this 1 team league, feel bad for actually fans if there are any!

    • Kurt Helin - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:54 PM

      Actually, NBA ratings destroy college ratings.

  3. addict2sport - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    OKC and SA had huge advantages over teams by staying consistent as far as personnel and scheme were concerned. The strike shortened offseason did as much damage to the Lakers as anything else. (Well, besides OKC.) A full offseason will help if they stay as-is. Only time will tell how much it’ll help. Even if OKC loses Thurs, the Finals experience they’re gaining plus the confidence they gained after taking out Dal, LAL and SA makes them even more dangerous next year. You can’t coach speed nor youth and no matter how well Brown coaches this offseason, the Lakers don’t have much of either.

    • caseybojangles - Jun 20, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      OKC will be ridiculous next year for sure but their challenge is how to keep this team together with the new CBA. KD and westbrook are locked up until 15-16 but remember, KD is finished with his rookie contract and is max. westbrook is still “only” playing for $5M this year and gets a 200%+ in the outyears ($14.5M next year). these two are about half of the teams cap in 13-14 when the new punitive CBA taxes for teams that go over kick in hard. harden is still a bargain at $5M through next year but he’ll want a raise too. he’s a restricted in 13-14 and he’ll want a long term contract i’m sure. thabo’s last year is 13-14 and serge is a restricted in 13-14 and will want a long term deal. 2013-2014 season is where hard decisions will need to be made for OKC

      • SmackSaw - Jun 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM

        OKC is the smallest of small markets. Revenue will be lower than average. Their window is smaller than you’d think.

  4. tsi431 - Jun 20, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The Laker’s bench is what needs upgrading, not the starters.

    • stadix093 - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I mostly agree with you. Still need an upgrade at point though, Sessions vanished in the playoffs.

    • 00maltliquor - Jun 21, 2012 at 2:04 AM

      100% agree with you tsi431. If young Buss is serious with this, I’m good with it. Just get some bench help.

  5. therealhtj - Jun 20, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Can’t move Kobe. Won’t move Bynum. No one wants Gasol. No draft picks. No cap space.

    I wouldn’t expect any big moves either.

    • camnellum12 - Jun 20, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      I’m pretty sure it’s a handful of teams that want Pau, it’s just his contract and that the front office realizes that they’d never get equal value back.

      • therealhtj - Jun 20, 2012 at 5:57 PM

        So would you have felt better if I said “No one want Pau and the 38.5 million he’s still owed?”

  6. camnellum12 - Jun 20, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    This is music to my ears! LA will still have the best frontcourt in all of basketball and we have the top SG in the NBA in Kobe. Sessions may have disappeared this post season, but I’ll give him a pass, knowing that he came in March and this was his FIRST playoff appearance. Jimmy, all you have to do is get us some damn consistent shooters and we can compete with SA and OKC.

    • ihavenonickname - Jun 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM

      ray allen at the mid level? Start Ray and bring Ron off the bench?

    • caseybojangles - Jun 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      (cupping my mouth) YOU GOT NO MONEY!!!

      why do laker fans not understand that the lakers have no money to offer. kobe chews up HALF of their cap. bynum and gasol are the other half. three players = your entire cap space. add another $8M for MWP and you are well over. and after next year, punitive taxes kick in. titles in the kobe era are over.

  7. beavertonsteve - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    I have a feeling Odom will be back. Sessions can be retained with a longer term contract. I know he played poorly in the the playoffs, but there’s not much more out there that the Lakers can add.

    There’s no point in trading Gasol for anything short of a top 15 PG or a young athletic PF. I think he’ll still be a Laker next season (and perhaps the rest of his career) Hopefully Brown will figure out how to get him operating closer to the basket where he belongs. Perhaps bringing Odom back will allow that to happen.

    • caseybojangles - Jun 20, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      odom will be back??? and what? play for free???

      12-13 soft cap = ~$60M
      laker 12-13 committed contracts = $75.8M. this amount does not include sessions, barnes, murphy or ebanks if you want any of those guys back.

      odom made $8M last year.

      there are 19 million reasons lakers want to move gasol and none of the reasons have to do with whether he is a good player or not. there are 19 million reasons why most nba teams aren’t interested in gasol…and again, none of them have to do with whether he’s a good player or not. the economics of the nba are DIFFERENT with the new cba.

  8. mightyquinn69 - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    The Bigest mistake that Lakers made was not Hiring Brian Shaw, and sticking with the Triagle Offense. The still have the right personel for it, and should have stayed with it.

    • camnellum12 - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      • camnellum12 - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        I agree with you, and here’s what Phil Jackson had to say about how Buss stripped the team

  9. lalakersalldammdayy24 - Jun 20, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    We need to either release artest or trade him for a draft pick !! && upgrade our bench

  10. loungefly74 - Jun 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    moves will be made…bet on it.

  11. newyorkfootballjets - Jun 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    The spurs should go after gasol great fit. Maybe blair and the back up pg ( forget his name) but he is solid.

  12. lakerade - Jun 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    High risk, high reward. Jim is the son of a very good poker player, the cards of the offseason have yet to be dealt. Go Lakers.

  13. cornbreadbbqred - Jun 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    I will suggest some much needed point guard upgrades, especially if Sessions goes elsewhere: Let him!

    D.J. Augustin or Charlotte
    Darren Collison of Indiana

    Both would be available at relative same price as both Bozos in that spot now. Mitch and Jim, you listening?

    • caseybojangles - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM

      you really dont know how contracts work, do you?

  14. cornbreadbbqred - Jun 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Tell Magic to make the call to Larry for Collison now!

  15. cornbreadbbqred - Jun 20, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I will suggest some much needed point guard upgrades, especially if Sessions goes elsewhere: Let him!

    D.J. Augustin or Charlotte
    Darren Collison of Indiana

    Both would be available at relative same price as both Bozos in that spot now. Mitch and Jim, you listening?

    Tell Magic t

  16. davidcl77 - Jun 20, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Jim Buss stinks.

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