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Jim Buss says he’ll step down if Lakers aren’t contenders again in ‘three to four years’

Apr 20, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

Jim Buss Jim Buss

The Lakers missed the playoffs for the fist time since 2005, and just the second time in the last 20 years. They probably wished they missed them last season too, given the way they were thumped in four straight games with Kobe Bryant lost to injury.

Los Angeles is a franchise built on consistent championship contention, and falling short of that in consecutive seasons is far from acceptable. Jim Buss is part owner of the Lakers, but has complete responsibility for running the basketball side of things, and knows as well as anyone just how high the expectations are.

Maybe that’s why he’s willing to find someone else for the job if the team doesn’t regain its historically lofty status over the next few years.

From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Her older brother Jim Buss, 54, in charge of the Lakers’ basketball operations, spoke up in the boardroom of the team’s El Segundo training facility and pledged to resign in a few years if the suddenly dark fortunes of the franchise weren’t reversed.

“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed,” he told The Times about the meeting. “I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.”

Most outsiders question whether Buss is indeed the right person for the job, but there’s been no real misstep under his watch. The last two coaching decisions were made in part by Dr. Jerry Buss, who has since passed away.

The next two off seasons are critical to the Lakers’ rebuilding plans. There is salary cap room available to pursue stars in free agency, and the team has a lottery pick in what is believed to be a deep draft this summer.

The opportunities will be there for L.A. to lure free agents, and to build a contending roster to surround Bryant in his final two years under contract. The stakes have never been higher, but if Lakers fans take Buss at his word, at least he’ll be gone if the moves that he makes fail to turn the franchise around.

  1. remyje - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:12 PM

    get ready to step down then….. and you lakers “fans” better start looking for your new team…

    • Kevin S. - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      Now if he was *really* ballsy he’d have gone full Prokhorov – championship in five years or… marriage. Go big or go home, Jimmy. Go big or go home.

    • money2long - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      U mad ?

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM

        CantonPeaBrain is: Heat won.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      As a Laker fan. I’d be willing to Suck for the next 3 years to get rid of him. It’s not that I have anything against him, I just have NO faith in him to turn this around. It sucks for Kobe because he has to close out his career with the wrong Buss calling the shots!! The Mamba deserves better than Jimbo ruining the last couple yrs of his career with his bone headed moves!!!

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        But in 3 to 4 yrs, HIS definition of contending for the Western conf championship (does NOT mean winning it) will be DIFFERENT from the fans and he’ll remain in charge… as to him, the Lakers will have again CONTENDED (no need to actually win now, ONLY contend per Jim Buss).

      • therealhtj - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        Bone-headed like signing an injured, aging veteran to a cap clogging contract?

        As a Laker fan, I’d have been willing to amnesty Kobe to keep Dwight and build around a star in his prime rather than one whose achilles was spaghetti.

        So yes, rational Lakers fans and Kobetards alike can agree on one thing, and that’s Jim Buss not having a clue.

      • therealhtj - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:42 PM

        In short, Lakers fans should feel as selfish about their franchise as Kobe does his own interests. Where those intersect have grown fewer and further in between.

      • kclanton80 - Apr 21, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        The mamba is one of the main reasons the lakers are going to suck. That huge deal he signed is not going to make it easy to build a championship caliber team.

    • ranfan12 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      can you name another team with more people in the stands during lackluster seasons, and not just against big name teams?

      • redbaronx - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:03 PM

        @ranfan12 – Lets see what happens after a few losing seasons in LA. And yeah we can name more than a few teams that still sellout in lackluster seasons regardless of the opponent:

        1) Pacers
        2) Knicks
        3) Celtics
        4) Bulls

        This is an attendance list from 2009, but it answers your question very well as the Lakers sit at #7 in attendance, and there are teams like the Bulls, Knicks, and Pistons (last few seasons) who had a number of losing seasons in the 2000′s. Lets leave NY out of this because they will always sell out no matter how bad they suck.

        I don’t think anyone would say LA fans are the most loyal. I’m from DC so I have no dog in this fight, but I’d put the Spurs fans followed by the Bulls and Utah fans at #1, 2, and 3. Spurs fans were hardcore even when they sucked in the late 80′s early 90′s. The Spurs show more loyalty to keeping a certain type of player around, and it plays well to the fan base instead of having free agents on a rotating merry-go-round (Lakers…). Ditto for Utah. Note how these teams are all above LA in attendance despite having some bad years and not having nearly the market that LA does….

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        Knicks.

  2. thevikesarebest - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:20 PM

    Time to start stepping down.

  3. pcsurfer - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    Good to hear that he’s at least open to the idea that he may not be the ultimate solution. However, he should just leave all basketball decisions completely up to Mitch Kupchak. The only better option would be to get Jerry West back somehow, but I don’t think that’ll happen.

  4. coltzfan166 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:32 PM

    Rebuilding doesn’t work. Just look at the Celtics. Don’t you think the fans still wish they had Doc Rivers, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett? Just because you get draft picks for trading them doesn’t mean the draft picks will turn out to be elite players in the NBA.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:32 PM

      C’mon man. That’s a weak example. It’s been one season. ONE. We haven’t even gotten to the draft yet. You wanna talk about tanking not working, talk Charlotte, but even their bungled drafts are starting to work.

      Rebuilding doesn’t work? You are a complete moron because your handle says ‘Colts Fan’. They tanked, picked up Luck and made the playoffs the next year.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        The Celtics haven’t begun to rebuild. Your comment is, at best, a joke.

  5. dinofrank60 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

    Before we start we the fun that this story will start, I will say this:
    The last two coaching decisions were made in part by Dr. Jerry Buss,

    Now, there have been many things to give Dr. Buss his richly due respect as a HOF owner.
    But coaching decisions aren’t one of them. This extends further than the last few years; this goes back to almost to the beginning.

    • dinofrank60 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:59 PM

      Usually, I don’t comment, but really…

      Jerry Buss did a lot, but coaching decisions??? Guys, NBA history is much more than the last ten years.
      Believe me, they won’t take away his rings or his HOF props, nor should they. But. look up what happened.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:27 PM

        Some of these guys are “youngins” with no sense of history. That’s why they think LeBron is the best, ever.

  6. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Please stay forever Mr. Buss, and keep signing Kobe to those wonderful ‘well deserved’ extensions.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      @Ryder1
      Instead of “Trolling” shouldn’t you be doing your last minute rehearsals with the other Miami Heat cheerleaders?? The game starts soon & you gotta be ready for the playoffs! You girls need to be on your A game……… You do have to jump & yell @ the same time. Multi tasking can be pretty difficult!!

  7. cantonbound13 - Apr 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    Keep Mike D!! 3 more years!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:28 PM

      Your team, the Knicks, is a true reflection of YOU: they suck!

  8. sportsfan18 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    Ya’ll know the Lakers do NOT need to win anything for him to remain in charge right?

    They ONLY have to CONTEND and contending does not mean winning the championship or even the West conference finals…

    To Jimbo, playing for the Western conf finals would most likely constitute contending even if they lost…

    He’s not going anywhere…

    • brianscalabrine - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:26 PM

      “contending does not mean winning the championship…” What?!?!?

      “playing for the Western conference finals would likely constitute contending even if they lost…” That seems like a contending season for me if you get to the final 4 teams…

      • sportsfan18 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        My point EXACTLY…

        Buss will NOT go away and let someone else run the team… he’ll say they were contenders for the western conf finals… even though they did NOT win it…

        CONTENDING for the western conf finals is different from actually winning it…

        Lakers fans are getting their hopes up that he’ll leave in 3 to 4 yrs… No he won’t…

      • unxpexted1 - Apr 21, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        IF the Lakers are in the WCF in the next 2 years I doubt most of the fans would be calling for his head like we are currently. If he can make us contenders I’ll change my opinion of him, but right now we’ll just have to see

  9. pfic15 - Apr 20, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Buss and Kobe can both ride off into the sunset…..together. Good riddance.

  10. shuttaman1990 - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Step down now then playa!
    lakers all day, I pray you turn this around jimmy.

  11. mackcarrington - Apr 20, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    This story is like a low-hanging branch filled with fruit.
    I predict the comments will number around 100.

    • jcmeyer10 - Apr 20, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Just because it’s low hanging fruit, doesn’t mean it doesn’t taste good.

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        What if some dog pissed on it?

      • mackcarrington - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:32 PM

        Damn, Jimmee, that actually made me laugh out loud!
        And it reminded me of this:
        “Be my dog and I’ll be your tree and you can pee on me”

  12. lakerade - Apr 20, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    Okay great, you got your quote, now hush. Let ‘em work. Go Lakers.

  13. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    @spthegr8

    What do you know about playoffs & winning?… Maybe you could ask Kobe since he’s watching the playoffs from his couch. Just remember, ‘no’ means ‘yes’ with Kobe so be careful…

    • spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:24 PM

      @ryder1
      What do we know about the playoffs & winning.?? A HELLUVA ALOT more then the Heat do. What’s the banner count.?? I hate going there but, you asked for it!! As for having a brain. What would you know about having a Brain.?? You asked for that also.!!

  14. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    @therealhtj

    You are the first Laker fan on here with a brain.

  15. trollaikman8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Someone send this to Jerry Jones.

  16. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    @spthegr8

    When was the last time the Lakers won a playoff series?… Even better question: When is the next time they’ll win a playoff series?… And I love that you’re talking about banners when you’ve never even been to the Staples Center!!!!!

  17. spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    @ryder1
    How do you know what I’ve done. ??& Just cuz you are a male Heat groupies doesn’t make you a part of the team! & the Heat aren’t winning a championship this yr. I hate to bust your bubble but you need to face reality!!

  18. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:16 PM

    @spthegr8

    You made the same prediction last year and the year before along with predicting the Lakers would win with Dwight. Your predictions are just like Kobe: useless and one-sided…

    • spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      @ryder1
      I made what prediction last yr.?? I picked the Heat to win it all last yr. Your a Heat fan. What do you know about basketball. Most of you Heat fans think the NBA started in 2011 when LBJ took his talents too South Beach! You were probably one of those Heat fans that left early during game 6 of the Finals last yr. Your not a TRUE fan of your team like me. You see, I stick with my team regardless of what their record is. You on the other hand are a FRONT RUNNER!!!! SMFH!!!

  19. realfootballfan - Apr 20, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Kobee is like, “Damn!”

    • soopreme - Apr 21, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      LOL, Kobe is on record stating he wants to win now.
      The next few years in Laker land is going to be interesting.
      Let the drama begin !!

  20. rodge1 - Apr 20, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    @spthegr8

    Lol, the old ‘bandwagon fan’ line. No one ever called me a bandwagon fan when I was watching Sherman Douglas spark Heat runs at the Miami Arena, which was in a scary part of Miami. But now that the Heat are winning that’s the haters’ go-to line. You should be shaking-your-head at the mirror since you’ve never even been to LA.

    • spthegr8 - Apr 20, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      @Ryder1
      Not a hater. Just call it like I see it. You can google all the old Heat player names you want. Your of the Bandwagon variety! No one ever called you bandwagon fan back in the day cuz, you WEREN’T a fan. Your just another Front runner. You probably don’t even live in Miami. I bet your from Maine or some ish like that! You’ll have another team when the Heat get knocked off!! You bandwagoners are like high school cheerleaders. You wanna ride with whoever is hot @ the moment!!

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        lol

  21. spursareold - Apr 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Did the clock start ticking when he took over? Because the LAL have already been non-contenders for two years.

  22. 00maltliquor - Apr 21, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    I actually like and respect this from Jimmy. Alright Jimbo, to me your slates clean. I will judge you from what you do from here on out. I’ll give you a full 4 years, let’s see what you can do. GO LAKESHOW

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