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Jeanie Buss thinks her dad could have kept Dwight Howard in L.A.

Aug 9, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Regal FC Barcelona Getty Images

There were a multitude of reasons Dwight Howard bolted the Lakers to land with the Rockets, but in the end it all came down to trust — Howard didn’t trust the Lakers would feature him properly and build a contender around him.

That’s the opposite of Kobe Bryant back in 2004 — Kobe was very close to leaving for the Clippers, but Jerry Buss called him up, and because they had a mutual trust, Buss talked him out of leaving.

Jeanie Buss, the daughter of Jerry and one of the Lakers co-owners, thinks if her father had been around Howard would be with the Lakers today. That’s what she told ESPN Radio in Los Angeles on Thursday, as transcribed by Ramona Shelburne at

“They would’ve probably had a better relationship if my dad hadn’t been sick,” Jeanie Buss said …. “When it came time to try to convince Dwight to stay, we lost the best closer in the business in Dr. Buss.

“Putting up the billboard maybe wasn’t the right thing. But we maybe have to learn to do things differently because Dr. Buss isn’t here anymore. People said [of the billboards], ‘Oh, that’s not the Laker way.’ Well, the Laker way isn’t the same, because Dr. Buss isn’t here.”

The billboard was playing to his ego, playing to Howard’s need for praise and reinforcement. But it was a poor substitute for the kind of relationship and trust the Lakers had a season to forge with Howard and couldn’t.

Then he meets with Houston, and they can sell him on winning basketball, but more than that Chandler Parsons sells him on team camaraderie and a collegial atmosphere. It’s the things he didn’t think he could get in Los Angeles.

Would Jerry Buss have made a difference? If he were healthy and in his prime, my guess is a number of things would have been different. Who knows if that would have kept Howard in town.

  1. BigBeachBall - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    She’s throwing her kid brother under the buss.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:47 AM

      I see what you did there.

    • spthegr8 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:03 PM

      Sometime’s I wish we could LITERALLY throw him under a Bus!!! Jimbo is the DRIZZLING SH**’S!!!!!

  2. volcom2143 - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    If she was running things , Phil would be the coach and Dwight would of resign .

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      Someone please explain to me why they think Jeanie would be any better than her brorther? And why they think Phil wanted to come back? Phil has made it clear he did not want to coach- he wanted a GM position. He also doesn’t want the Lakers in the state they’re in. Lastly he is fighting cancer. No way can he physically endure a NBA season health-wise.

      All this Dwight crap is water under the bridge. The horse has left the barn. However you want to say it. Lakers fans need to move on and rebuild. No amount of finger-pointing and hand-wringing will make the next couple of dismal seasons disappear.

  3. logisticalvoices - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    A little late to the party on this article. This was all over the internet yesterday. You must have just got finished watching Sportscenter.

  4. 00maltliquor - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    Oh Lord, here we go……………………………

  5. abchome - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    樹倒猢猻散 (tree falls and monkey leave),pity!

  6. sidneyz - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Jim Buss’ 1st and deadliest mistake was dangling a carrot in front of the greatest coach of all time and then yanking it away. There’s no way this wasn’t a personal decision to not hire Phil Jackson. Jim Buss let his personal feelings interfere with the process of running a championship caliber franchise and now it’s having a domino effect with the team. I believe D12 would have stayed with the Lakers if Jackson was the coach and a championship would have been in the beat future if not already. Someone please give Jeannie the keys to the franchise before Jim runs it into a ditch!

    • spursareold - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:39 AM

      Too late. He already has run it into a ditch.

      If Dr. Buss had one flaw, it would be chauvanism. Why did he think his slacker son could run the franchise better than Jeanie? Jim Buss is the argument for steep inheritance taxes. Idiots should not inherit from stalwarts.

  7. unsportsmenmic - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    Reblogged this on UnSportsMenMic and commented:
    That it is not even a question, we all know Dr. Buss would have hired Philly Jack and Howard would have stayed in LA, and Phil would have silenced Kobe a bit to allow Dwight Howard to start being the new leader of the team.

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      I doubt even Phil could have made anything better.

      Dwight should never have been acquired. What happened last season was the end result of a new CBA, previous bad trades and attempted trades, and just plain arrogance. Knowing that the team would have to pay a huge luxury tax with the new CBA in place and knowing that their core group was one injury away from disaster should not have been a surprise. The Howard debacle just put a exclaimation point on the years of poor planning by the Lakers management.

      • unsportsmenmic - Aug 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

        True the management was in disarray, but even Howard admitted if Phil was the coach he would have (granted you can’t trust Howard ask Orlando) stayed. And we know Dr. Buss would have paid the tax to keep Howard there and would have probably pulled the same tactic he did with the Shaq and Kobe situation and chose Howard over Kobe (would have been poetic justice).

  8. spursareold - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    In 2004, Buss used his relationship with Kobe to keep him with the Lakers, and threw Shaq under the bus, If he had been around, he likely would have forged a relationship with Dwight, and kept him by amnestying Kobe.

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Kobe should have been amnestied regardless. Dwight was NOT the player to build a franchise around. Kobe isn’t either at this stage of his career.

  9. cantonbound13 - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    She should take over.

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Why? What has she done besides get engaged to Jackson that makes her better than her brother?

  10. hungryhungryhibbert - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Get ready lakers fans, that could start happening a lot. Not everyone likes these children of dr buss like they loved him. I hope they stay irrelevant for years … But the nba wont let that happen

  11. lalifer - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    The thing is all this talk about “giving” the face of the franchise to Howard: “passing” the torch to Howard. Hey. in the NBA there is no handouts. If you want to be the face of the franchise, you do what it takes. If you want to be holding the torch, you don’t cry because you want it, you TAKE it.

    Kobe ain’t giving you s**t. The old lion doesn’t turn over his pride to the young lion. The young lion have to take it from him and show him that it’s his turn now. So sit down old man. Dwight couldn’t do that.

  12. birdsflynorth206 - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Dr Buss would of never hired Mike D, so yes he would kept Howard in LA

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      I doubt Dr. Buss would have acquited Dwight. He was smart enough to know his team and the repercussions of a almost-retired Kobe and a big diva like Dwight trying to co-exist.

      • abxyer - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:13 AM

        Dr. Buss is a judge???

  13. lakerslegacy2432 - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM


  14. jerdogthompson - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    Ouch and double ouch. Even as a fervent non-Laker fan it hurts to read this. I feel bad for the entire organization as their rich history is slowly but surely fading away into obscurity.

    • topdawg4ever - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      I have always had a lot of respect for Dr. Buss but if there is one thing he did not do right was to rely on his children to carry on his legacy.

      Of course he would have wanted his children to be able to take his place, but I think he over estimated what his son and daughter were capable of. Those who have immense talent for business and who run successful franchises like Buss did for years need to groom the person who will take over- and that isn’t always their children. It’s too bad that the Buss legacy is being tarnished because of Dr. Buss not thinking objectively.

  15. kb2408 - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    He’s gone, learn from it and move on. No player, especially one like Dwight, is bigger than the LAKERS. “Losing” him to Houston is going to prove to be a blessing in disguise.

  16. Anoesis - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:35 PM

    “… team comrodery…”

    Seriously? I cannot remember the last time I saw a computer that didn’t come with spell-check. If you look closely when you type you’ll see a pretty obvious red line under the words you’ve hacked. That’s your clue to right-click on them in order to see how they’re really spelled. CAMARADERIE, for crying out loud.

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