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Kobe Bryant comes to defense of Jim Buss

Nov 16, 2012, 10:14 AM EDT

New Los Angeles Lakers head coach D'Antoni walks on crutches as he passes by Bryant during practice in El Segundo, California Reuters

Magic Johnson shredded Jim Buss — son of Jerry Buss and the guy running the Los Angeles Lakers now — on national television. And he spoke for a lot of Lakers fans when he did it.

Magic said he trusted Jerry, not Jim. He said Mike Brown was a mistake hire from the start and to replace him with Mike D’Antoni when Phil Jackson wanted the job was another mistake. And Lakers fans everywhere were nodding along.

But Kobe Bryant came to the younger Buss’ defense. From the Los Angeles Times.

“[Johnson’s] opinion is valued greater than most others because of what he’s done here with this franchise. I can only speak from my perspective in my dealings with Jim. He’s been phenomenal,” Bryant said. “He’s seemingly made all the right choices. Going back in time, I’m sure he would have called me and consulted me on the Mike Brown hiring but that is what it is. Other than that, he’s been behind some pretty good moves, some pretty good trades for this organization.”

Jim Buss clearly wants a ring to validate his spin as head guy for the Lakers. He found a way — and was willing to pay — to bring in Steve Nash and Dwight Howard while keeping Kobe and Pau Gasol. When he realized (later than he should have) that Mike Brown was not the coach to get this team a ring, he made an aggressive move to get someone he thought could.

That person was never going to be Phil Jackson. The relationship with Jackson and Buss was rocky, when Jackson left Buss cleared out a lot of people in the organization believed to be “Jackson’s people,” and Buss only asked Jackson about the job because they thought he’d say no and they could tell fans “hey, we tried.” When Jackson was interested they were caught in a spot they didn’t predict.

That is the one big difference so far from the Jerry to Jim Buss transition — Jerry was playing chess. He was three moves ahead in his mind and had thought out the possible outcomes of moves. Then he would act, and take risks, but they were calculated. This didn’t feel like that at all. Jim Buss has felt reactionary. But with enough money to cover his mistakes.

  1. kacapaco - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    I think it was rt not Phil. Along with his other to s of demands he specifically demanded NOT TO TRAVEL to some road games which is no-no. Phil wasn’t fully committed to full job and Lakers can’t afford to part-time coach.

    • ron05342 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      How do you know this? There has been no confirmation that Phil made ANY demands. Both sides have denied this, so I am wondering how you know so much.

      • lawrinson20 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        It was posted on the interwebs. So, it must be true.

      • lakerdownunder - Nov 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        So in EXACTLY the same way, how do you know there weren’t demands made? I’m wondering how YOU know so much???

  2. fpimentel72 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Look, we all know that Phil is a better coach that Mike but we have Mike and yes he is a good coach, I’m not saying he is a great coach but he can coach this team to get a championship, so I love him. I think the Buss’s made the right decision, maybe he didn’t won one but now he will win a few.

    • ron05342 - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:45 AM

      @ lakerdownunder:

      Uhhh…..gee, both sides DENIED it. I don’t know anything, I just know that both sides DENIED it.

      Get it, fool?

  3. spthegr8 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Magic is 1000% right. Jimbo has too much EGO, pride and power. Especially for someone who doesn’t KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING!!!!!!!! If you pay attention too what Kobe said, it was kind of a back handed compliment. He did everything good but……… The bad thing is that, when Dr. Buss is gone and Jimbo has ALL the power. God have mercy on us Laker fans!!!! We got the wrong sibling running things. JUST SAYING!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. aboogy123456 - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    I was so angry when I found out that D’Antoni was hired as the lakers coach, and I’ve never really thought he was great but the more I think about it , I think this will work out.

    People will disagree, but I think the lakers are the perfect team to have a running offense. One thing that makes an offense able to run is the big men, and dwight howard and pau gasol are one of the top combinations of big men that can run the floor. I can see both of them getting so many easy baskets simply by outrunning the other big men.

    Every one says that because the lakers are old they can’t run, but nash, kobe, and metta are all known for being in great shape, so I don’t think that’s a huge problem. Also, they have an underutilized bench, so maybe if they run more then they can give the starters a breather and use the bench more. I’ve also noticed that jamison hasn’t been comfortable in the offense so far this season, but I think we’ll see a ton of improvement out of him with a more uptempo offense. He has great shooting skills for a big, runs the floor well, and he’s a better scorer when there’s space and he doesn’t have to beat a guy one on one.

    My point is that everyone has been saying the lakers are too old to run, but that’s just one factor and there are a lot more reasons that they would be the ideal team to run and gun.

  5. paleihe - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I’m not sure why Kurt makes it seem like Jim is making all these decisions by himself. The Lakers decision makers are Jim Buss, Jerry Buss, and Mitch Kupchak. It’s a three-headed leadership group. Ramona Shelburne has already reported that Jim goes and talks to his dad after every game.

    For Magic to say it’s all about Jim’s decision making, is horribly inaccurate. And then for Kurt to just regurgitate that same nonsense is even worse.

  6. hoodheisman - Nov 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    First time since I’ve been a Laker fan that I’ve seen the Lakers settle for second best when they could have had the best.

    The Lakers didn’t settle for Vlade Divac when they could have had Shaq.

    The Lakers didn’t settle for Andrew Bynum when they could have had Howard.

    The Lakers didn’t settle for Ramon Sessions when they could have had Nash.

    Like Magic, I’m still in mourning. I’ve never in my life settled for second best, and I can’t stand the fact that my team just did.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:37 PM

      Thumbs down courtesy of those who settle for second best.

  7. loungefly74 - Nov 16, 2012 at 12:43 PM

    i like how Kobe threw in that “yeah…run that by me first next time” line. huh. not too many players in the league who can say and get away with that. well…lets think about that…who else in the league has played a long time, in an alpha role, for only 1 team? paul pierce and tim duncan come to mind…but not too many others….

    anyway…heck…D’Antoni should be an improvement over Brown. we will see what happens!

  8. jedifriedchicken - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Jim Buss is a bum.

  9. lawrinson20 - Nov 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    “Buss only asked Jackson about the job because they thought he’d say no and they could tell fans ‘hey, we tried.'”

    If true, this is absurd. IF you are playing this PR game and never intended to hire Jackson, it’s ridiculous and offensive to have positioned it to Jackson as an OFFER of a job. If you want to be able to tell the fanbase that you seriously considered Jackson, as the Buss camp is saying now, but that he wasn’t the proper fit, you don’t leave Jackson with the impression that a formal offer had been extended and that acceptance was Jackson’s option.

    What should have happened is that you have an investigative CONVERSATION with Jackson, and leave the option on Your side. No misunderstandings. These are two sophisticated adults. It’s inexcusable to deal with people in this manner. But, methinks that was the plan all along. The offense was not unintentional, and somehow Jim feels the press/PR hit he’s taking was worth the insult inflicted upon Jackson. Stay classy, Jim.

  10. florida727 - Nov 16, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Since his first year with the Lakers in 1996-1997, Kobe has been paid in excess of $221,000,000 by the team (and that does NOT include this year’s salary). His opinion is biased and carries absolutely zero credibility. Of course he’s going to go along with Jim Buss. Who the heck do you think signs his paychecks?

    • eugenesaxe - Nov 16, 2012 at 6:07 PM

      Buss needs Kobe far more than Kobe needs Buss. Kobe’s the closest thing to Superman in the NBA, in terms of “I can say anything I want about the organization and nobody will do jack about it”.

    • jimeejohnson - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:39 PM

      Don’t bite the hand that feeds you mentality: Kobe’s smarter than some of you thought.

  11. omniusprime - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Kobe is the consummate team player coming to the defense of the little idiot buss boy. Magic doesn’t have to be so politically correct but Kobe is smart to tell a white lie about his relationship with the moron in charge. The only way I’ll ever have any respect for the little idiot buss boy is for the Lakers to win two more championships in the next two or three years, anything less is total failure.

    I would rather have a chess player like Dr. Jerry Buss running the show with intelligence than some stupid young punk with a lot of daddy’s money because sooner or later daddy will get smart and cut the young punk off with the money spigot.

    Just Win Championships Baby!!!

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