Feb 18, 2013, 8:32 PM EDT
Lakers fans have always felt uneasy talking about the reality that hit the team today — life for the organization after Jerry Buss, who passed away Monday morning.
The Hall of Fame Lakers owner was the man with the vision and plan that made the Lakers the most successful franchise in the NBA of the last 30 years. He was brilliant at marketing but he also hired people with good basketball instincts and he understood the value of stars in the NBA. Under him, the Lakers made the NBA finals 48 percent of the years since he bought the team.
Now his children take over the organization and a new legacy begins. Every title, all the success so far goes on Jerry’s side of the Lakers ledger. It’s now tabula rasa.
If one thing should be clear from what the family said Monday is should be this — the Lakers are not being sold. It is something the family said in a statement in January, said in a statement again Monday and was reiterated by a team spokesman later on Monday at a press conference. The Buss family will continue to control the franchise.
“It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy,” the family said in a statement.
Jerry Buss’ six children each have a stake in a complicated trust that gives them as a group a majority ownership of the franchise (believed to be about 65 percent, with AEG the next largest owner at about 30 percent). Jim, Jeanie and Johnny manage the trust. Each family member has some role in the organization.
Jim Buss has and will maintain ultimate control of the of the basketball side of the operations (something he has basically done for several years now working with Mitch Kupchak). However, on the basketball side Jerry was always the ultimate decider, now that falls to Jim. Jeanie Buss will continue to run the business side of the operation, as she has done for a decade. She has a fantastic reputation around the league with other owners.
Reports had surfaced that, at least before their father’s recent turn for the worse, Jim and Jeanie had not spoken since Jeanie’s fiancé Phil Jackson was interviewed but turned down to return as Lakers coach.
The question on everyone’s mind is “can Jim live up to his father’s legacy? Or will there be changes?” In the short term, probably not much changes. In the long term… that remains to be seen.
Jerry was a gambler, but a guy who always did his research then trusted his conclusions. Like the good poker player he was, when he took a risk it was calculated not impulsive. He stayed true to his vision.
Whether Jim Buss has both the vision and ability to pull that off remains to be seen. His test starts now.
If Jeanie and Jim work together, the Lakers could and should remain one of the most powerful franchises and brands the NBA has. However, there is the potential Shakespearian-level drama if there is a struggle for power.
And if that happens Lakers fans should be worried, because the fantastic success of the organization started with stability and vision from the top.
Jun 17, 2013, 10:45 PM EDT
The next time the Bulls play a game Derrick Rose will be suited up and playing. Hopefully by a couple games into next season we can all move past the “why didn’t he play last season?” crap. But for now the issue keeps coming up in Chicago. It came up again recently when Bulls legend Scottie…
Jun 17, 2013, 8:54 PM EDT
Metta World Peace was in rare form today. He was on Sportsradio 610 in Houston — and let me say as a guy who has done a fair amount of radio spots with some quality hosts there, the buzz is all about Dwight Howard coming to the Rockets. If they are talking hoops, they are…
Jun 17, 2013, 7:02 PM EDT
The Celtics and Clippers are still discussing the trade that would send Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to Los Angeles, but the whole deal is predicated on Rivers wanting to coach the Clippers. So, even if the Celtics and Clippers agree how to handle Eric Bledsoe, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee, Rivers still must give…
Jun 17, 2013, 5:51 PM EDT
Victor Oladipo has worked out for the Phoenix Suns. In Phoenix, he said he already worked out for the Orlando Magic and planned to work out for the Cleveland Cavaliers, though it’s not clear where those sessions occurred. Oladipo is preparing for the NBA Draft in Bowie, Md., which is about 20 minutes outside Washington,…
Jun 17, 2013, 5:26 PM EDT
Phil Jackson is unquestionably one of the greatest coaches of all time, but he didn’t get there by placating people or considering the feelings of others — especially those with seniority or who were holding down a higher-level position within the organization. Speaking at an event last week where Jackson was plugging his latest book,…
Jun 17, 2013, 5:12 PM EDT
Allen Iverson’s post-NBA life has been – sad to say, predictably – rough. He’s reportedly losing a lot of money and suffering from alcoholism, and those closest to him are especially worried. Unfortunately, it can get worse, and it might have already. TMZ: Tawanna Iverson just filed legal docs, claiming Allen recently asked for permission…
Jun 17, 2013, 4:36 PM EDT
The Mavericks enter the off-season as one of the major players in free agency. Not only do they have money to spend, but they also have a history of championship level contention, a still very good Dirk Nowitzki, and Mark Cuban to close the deal when it’s time to make the pitch on why the…
Jun 17, 2013, 4:34 PM EDT
This is the time of year when teams and agents create smokescreens so thick, firefighters can’t get through them. So, approach any report like this with a healthy dose of skepticism. But also consider that a beat writer for a major newspaper was confident enough to report it. There’s a fine line, and from the…
Jun 17, 2013, 4:20 PM EDT
The Utah Jazz are updating their scoreboard that will sit high above center court at EnergySolutions Arena, and as you might imagine, the team is pretty excited about it. From the official release: “Miller Sports Properties today announced plans for a new center court high definition video display system that is seven times larger than its predecessor,…
Jun 17, 2013, 3:22 PM EDT
The subject of players selling contact to officials, or even downright faking it in hopes of duping a referee into blowing a favorable whistle has become a hotter topic than ever this season, thanks to a new anti-flopping policy enacted which was designed to clean this mess up. It hasn’t had the desired effect, however,…
Jun 17, 2013, 1:58 PM EDT
When I went to San Antonio to write this piece on Gregg Popovich (and, later, this piece on Tim Duncan) I was told, time and again, that the most popular San Antonio Spur in town, by far, is Manu Ginobili. At first, I found it a bit curious. I mean, Ginobili has been a terrific…
Jun 17, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT
There is once again momentum to the idea that Doc Rivers and Kevin Garnett (then later likely Paul Pierce) are headed to the Clippers. It may or may not happen, but a smart GM like Danny Ainge has to start planning for any eventuality. So, if Doc Rivers is gone from the bench in Boston,…
Jun 17, 2013, 1:22 PM EDT
This was expected to happen, but now it’s become official. Monta Ellis is going to opt out of the $11 million he is owed next season to become an unrestricted free agent, reports Chris Broussard of ESPN and other sources. Ellis is seeking 19.2 points and 6 assists for the Bucks last year. He is…
Heat must accomplish something they haven’t been able to in a month if they want to repeat as champions
Jun 17, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT
SAN ANTONIO — After falling to the Spurs in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday, the Miami Heat find themselves in a most uncomfortable position. In order to win the championship that they were heavily favored to at the outset of the postseason, they’ll need to accomplish something that they haven’t been able…
Jun 17, 2013, 12:08 PM EDT
UPDATE 5:45 pm : This is getting close. The Celtics have agreed no Eric Bledsoe but they want the Clippers to take on one of their bad contracts, either Jason Terry or Courtney Lee. How that shakes out is really all that’s left, according to multiple reports. 12:08 pm: If you’re a Clippers fan who…
Jun 17, 2013, 12:07 PM EDT
SAN ANTONIO — Danny Green has been on a record-breaking tear with his three-point shooting through the first five games of the Finals, and he’s been a key reason the Spurs are taking a three games to two series lead back to Miami with two chances to close the Heat out. It isn’t just the…
Jun 17, 2013, 11:42 AM EDT
Tim Connelly has been a rising star in the front office world. He was with the Wizards and was hired away by the then Hornets (now Pelicans) to be an assistant general manager there behind Del Demps. Now he’s made the leap to the big chair. Connelly is going to be the new GM of…
Jun 17, 2013, 10:56 AM EDT
SAN ANTONIO — The MVPs for the Spurs Game 5 win you know — Manu Ginobili came back like the prodigal son to have a huge game, Danny Green knocked down any shot given inside the San Antonio city limits, and Tony Parker continues to be the guy who should get the Finals MVP award…
Jun 17, 2013, 10:21 AM EDT
While the talks to bring Doc Rivers in as coach of the Clippers — along with players Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in a massive trade — are not dead, they are stalled out and on life support. So the Clippers are moving forward — they are going to bring in Brian Shaw for a…
Jun 17, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT
The book is obviously still out on what kind of owner Vivek Ranadive will be for the Kings, but we do know this: The man is willing to write some nice sized checks. He got Pete D’Alessandro away from Denver as a general manager because he was willing to write a bigger check than the…
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