Over the past few years, Los Angeles Lakers Executive Vice President Jim Buss has received a lot of criticism for his questionable decision making while gradually taking over for owner and father, Jerry Buss.
With Buss being adamant about not trading All-Star center Andrew Bynum ever since drafting him back in 2005, Lakers fans have had a harsh opinion of the VP, but now that stance has softened by fans of the storied NBA franchise with Bynum quickly turning into a superstar in Los Angeles.
Recently, Buss sat down with Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com for a Q&A sessions to talk about the Lakers. McMenamin brought up the new CBA agreed upon in order to end the lengthy NBA lockout and asked Buss about his opinion on how it impacts the Lakers moving forward:
Q: Let’s jump into the new collective bargaining agreement, because I think it’s important.
“Yes, it’s my favorite [laughing].”
Q: It changes everything, I think, for you guys.
“Absolutely. We can make a lot of money and still lose money? [Laughing.] That’s not a good thing. Especially when it’s a family-run business. I mean, my God, we don’t have Carnival Cruises behind us or Kohl’s Department Stores … and Microsoft up in good, old Portland. This is it. If we lose money, we lose money.”
Q: How much does the new CBA restrict you competitively as a luxury tax-paying team?
“If you’re over the tax, you can’t make trades at certain levels. You can only get the mini-midlevel [exception] so you can’t improve your team [as easily]. There are a lot of restrictions, and that’s what they were trying to do, just restrict us from doing what we do.”
There’s no question that the new CBA will greatly affect the Lakers in the future with the front office having to find new ways to deal with players via trade and free agency. Despite that being the case, the Lakers are one of the most resilient franchises in all of sports and will almost certainly continue to find a way to compete as a perennial playoff team and or NBA title contender in the Western Conference.
The draw to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers is no doubt an enticing one for NBA free agents with everyone seeming wanting to come to L.A., but that might not be enough for the Lakers moving forward with more teams around the league being able to offer more money under the new CBA.
It will be interesting to see just how Buss and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak can counter this bump in the road caused by unfavorable rules for lucrative franchises over the salary cap.