Lazenby: Uncertain Laker Future Begins And Ends With Jim Buss Reviewed by Momizat on . “The death of God left the angels in a strange position.” - Donald Barthelme The idea of uncertainty is one that frightens many people. As humans, we get comfor “The death of God left the angels in a strange position.” - Donald Barthelme The idea of uncertainty is one that frightens many people. As humans, we get comfor Rating:
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Lazenby: Uncertain Laker Future Begins And Ends With Jim Buss

“The death of God left the angels in a strange position.” – Donald Barthelme

The idea of uncertainty is one that frightens many people. As humans, we get comfortable with our surroundings and are afraid to step beyond our own grounds and put ourselves in a place we do not know. This is why such a large percentage of the world’s population die within 15 miles of where they were born. We get used to something, and we do whatever we can to hold onto it. Yet that doesn’t stop the change from coming. No matter how much we long for things to remain the same, especially when things are going well, we can’t avoid (or ignore) the change when it does happen.

JerryBuss1980And that period of transformation, of extreme change, is where the Lakers find themselves right now. A state of flux. An orbital device suddenly detached from the same revolution it had been in for decades. And with this change comes a remarkable sense of worry. How will things ever be the same? How will this team, that has built a foundation of stone in the heart of Los Angeles and done nothing but increase in altitude for over 30 years, how will it continue growing without the architect that put the initial blueprints together.

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When team owner Dr. Jerry Buss passed away last February, these questions began to arise. After losing Dwight Howard to the Houston Rockets last week, more people began to question the direction of the franchise. Have they lost their lure? Have we finally reached a place in time where the Lakers are no longer the Lakers? Has the rest of the league caught up? You see in the past the Lakers were Mecca. The shining example of what a basketball franchise should be. The rest of the Association’s inhabitants were mere pilgrims, on a roundball Hajj attempting to spend one summer in the glorious sunlight.

But now?

The Lakers have lost a transcendent free agent for the first time in team history, and is suddenly looking at a multi-year rebuilding process that is anything but certain. So where does this leave them?

I had the privilege of speaking to Roland Lazenby, a distinguished author and a man fairly close with the happenings in the Laker organization. He’s written numerous books about the Lakers, including an intriguing look into the life of the original Los Angeles superstar, Jerry West. While speaking with Lazenby, I learned that it’s not just fans that are uncertain of where this Laker team is heading. That the nepotism and seemingly increasing incompetence in the team’s front office is a growing concern for those in the professional circuit as well.

“This is a painful time,” Lazenby said. “It’s always painful when you throw away success to embrace conflict.”

So what’s the conflict? What’s the reason behind the loss of Howard and the growing uncertainty behind the scenes?

“I do believe Dwight and Kobe would have been fine, because Shaq and Kobe were fine enough to win three. They just needed Phil and Tex. (Now) Phil’s worn down and Tex is incapacitated. Phil could have pulled those two tighter, but Phil alienated the Busses, first the old man, then the son. And the Busses aren’t the kind of guys to articulate their alienation. Jeanie tries to put a good spin on it, but it really is an ugly thing. And we’ve witnessed an ugly moment.”

An ugly moment could seemingly be fixed, though. Because if it’s indeed just a moment, it’s expected to be followed by another and another, in which there is time for both parties to fix the issue and get the proverbial ship back on the right course. But, whatever the reasons may be, that doesn’t seem to be a realistic possibility between the two sides of this particular spat.

“The feelings are apparently so hard, they can’t be successful together. I’m from the mountains, and we have a phrase around here. “They’d rather fight than —-.” It’s crude, but it aptly describes the enmity between Jim Buss and Phil.”

Perhaps, in reality, this shouldn’t be as surprising as it would seem. Phil Jackson is notorious for being difficult to work with. He’s a man absolutely set in his ways, with the idea that he knows best, and that his strategies and plans will be the best possible way to achieve success. And for good reason. You don’t become the greatest coach in league history by sitting on your hands idly, waiting for others to give you direction.

Next Page: Jim Buss, Phil Jackson Disconnect Could Be Sign of Evolving Problem

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About The Author

Daniel is the former Editor-in-Chief of LakersNation. He has also written for SLAM, ESPN and other various publications. Follow Daniel on Twitter @danielbuergeLA

Number of Entries : 1606
  • Jim213

    When the fans and sports media stop paying attention and pulling back… that’s a sure sign that the franchise will be taking a backseat for a while thanks to Jim Bust and M Cupcake.

    • Daryl Peek

      Phil ran himself out of the Lakers family graces by disrespecting Dr. Buss, Jimmy, Jerry West, Tex Winter and all superiors hes’ worked with over the years.

      Dr. Buss was the one who fired Phil in 2004 and wanted to again do so in 08 after losing to the Celtics. Dr. Buss gladly accepted Phil’s resignation in 2011 and told Jimmy not to second guess himself this past season when Jimmy was contemplating a Phil return.

      Phil deserves much blame for destroying the family cohesion Dr. Buss built, not all but a huge portion of it. The first move was getting with the bosses much younger daughter to spite Jerry IMO. Dr. Buss just plain didn’t see Phil as Family like he did Pat Riley, Mitch, Magic, Jerry West, ETC… all of them can come home anytime they want. If not for Jeanie Phil is forever barred.

      • Jim213

        A few good pointers there… sure blame Phil and the 6 rings that he helped the franchise to get… Phil isn’t the reason why there are were they are right now… Sure blame Phil for not knowing how to assemble and keep the ship afloat…Come on Daryl!

        • Daryl Peek

          Dr. Buss wanted to win yes. The rings has nothing to do with the blame that resides now. Phil kept the drama going between Kobe and Shaq. Both Kobe and Shaq are on record saying if West had still been around they might have lasted longer together. West was the peace keeper. Tex assumed that role after West. Phil did both West and Tex dirty. Phil is the one who always had condescending words with Dr. Buss and Jimmy. Couple this with a FO that sold out on building a team long term for Phil. Phil never took the time to build a system of grooming young players. West was that dude… again who ran him off? Too much aging vets in retooling is the biggest problem. This is Phil’s roster influence. It was the price paid for the 5 rings under Phil.

          “My style of coaching eventually wears on the players and they tune me out” –Phil Jackson

          Phil said this himself when asked of the long term success Greg Popovich has had with the Spurs. Again it’s not all Phil’s fault but he bears a huge part of it.

          Look no further that the Bulls flame out after Phil.Couple that with Phil arguably the greatest HC in sports history not having a coaching tree legacy. I always give Phil credit as a great HC but in his own words, there’s nothing long term about him.

          My point to you and others is stop all the Jimmy bashing. It’s much deeper that that.

          • Jim213

            Too many fans know that management has messed up which has cost the team and possibly long term. With regards to Dwight I’m happy that he signed somewhere else given that it would’ve taken 3 to 4 yrs for management to realize that he wasn’t their future player.

            Weird that after Dwight made up his mind… sources stated that management knew that he wouldn’t sign with the Lakers. Yet they could’ve put plan B into effect sooner to try acquire someone like iguadola who could’ve helped the Lakers a lot inside given Kobe’s injury.

            The acquisition of C Kaman helps inside as he’s a hard worker but it leaves to question whether management could’ve acquired and signed a young talented free agent that would’ve likely helped with team depth while aiding come the 2014 free agency.

            It’ll be hard to try to acquire a star in 2014 with no team depth… Isn’t that why Dwight left b/c he believes that the Rockets have the better tools today to help him win a ring. Thankfully he left to Houston but the Lakers have more of a problem that can be addressed today as they need depth which also involves building the second team given that its pretty bad as it’ll can also help to attract a star in the 2014 free agency.

          • http://www.facebook.com/eddie.lazaro123 Eddie Lazaro

            Dwight left for the Rockets but not only for that teams Depth, he left with the majority issues coming about HIS COMFORTS. He can not handle the PRESSURE in LA that the FANS are DEMANDING of HIM because he has not proven any successful commodity he brought with him aside from the CIRCUS in his TOW. I agree with Daryl, success went to Phil’s head thinking he was the one who built the Empire and that they owe it to him, but it was West who INGENUOUSLY ORCHESTRATED GETTING SHAQ and KOBE TO PLAY FOR THE LAKERS. He was Alienating the OWNERS and West that at times ACTS like as if HE WAS ABOVE THEM. He was a great coach, we can all attest to that, but you can not Growl to your MASTERS who feeds and groom you and get away with it. As comfortable as he was with his players, he never was with the FAMILY other than JENNIE, and that’s just one of the reasons why Dr. Buss left with maybe a BROKEN HEART and a BROKEN HOUSE.

          • Jim213

            Once again valid point but it comes down to who signs the paychecks and brings in the talent though Phil may have had some say in this too but once again it comes down to management. If Dumbtoni has as much pull as Phil is believed to have had I seriously doubt that we will win another ring in the next decade.

            The team’s value would definitely drop from an estimated $800 million to Clipper like proportions! I wonder if Hollywood would stick around or end up rooting for the Clips like Billy Crystal and other celebs… Just throwing in some pro’s and con’s of the consequences. LA fans would definitely demand an NFL football… It’s all about marketing the money has to go somewhere… Sorry but the great Jerry Buss spoiled us…

          • Ken Ochetti

            Most of your stuff is right except why Jerry left. Buss promised Jerrya portion of the franchise and reneged on that promise. Jerry will always be a Laker but felt cheated by the Buss family.

          • Daryl Peek

            When the team hired Phil it got very cut throat in West eyes. West long had a rocky yin-yang relationship with Dr. Buss. They had the ultimate respect for each other tho. West spoke on this in his memorial speech for Dr. Buss. It was the most heart felt one of them all. Meanwhile Phil made his speech all about him and actually took a jab at West while saying he didn’t understand why certain folks in the FO had beef with him.

            Phil was the straw that pushed West out IMO. West was accustomed to dealing with he and Dr. Buss’s differences.

      • Josh

        You hit the nail right on the head there: Dr. Jerry Buss was as responsible as Jim for the D’Antoni hire, yet Jim gets all the blame. Make no mistake about it, Jim deserves his share of heat, but people are conveniently ignoring Jerry’s role in that hiring which various news sources HAS confirmed back then when it all came down.

  • Ron Quesada

    Lakers success will begin when Jim Buss sells the team to Magic! Cause Jim baby, you’re just in it for the money so it seems!

  • ra

    Begins and ends? Sounds terminal. But let’s be clear. If the Lakers start losing money for ‘any’ reason, Jeannie will step in and make some changes. Jim Buss is just head of Basketball operations, not the business operations – that’s Jeannie. Power is where the money is.

    Jeannie is letting Jim run things. If he runs things into the ground, then he will join them ‘in’ the ground.

  • Josh

    Why Jerry West is NOT employed with the Lakers is flat out criminal. That guy knows how to assemble teams. It’s sickening to see what he has helped assemble up there in Golden State. Imagine Jerry West going shopping next offseason armed with that Laker cap space..damn. That guy sits across the table from some stud star (Lebron, Melo, etc..), makes the sales pitch, and I’d be more confident he flies home with that Superstar in tow.

  • TheTruthKills

    The state of the Lakers can be repaired by one man and that’s Jim Buss. He has to swallow his pride and realize he doesn’t know what he’s doing before its too late. Under his watch the Lakers have made poor decision after poor decision and practically handed the city to the Clippers. All he has to do is check his ego at the door and hire either Phil Jackson or Jerry West as the President of Basketball Operations. No matter how you slice it Jim Buss shouldn’t be the end all be all on basketball decisions. The sooner he realizes this the sooner we can get back to the way things are supposed to be; and that’s the Lakers dominating the nba.

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