How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby unpossibl1 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:34 am

Interesting Dime Mag article. Doesn't really give Jim credit for some of the good things he did (drafting Bynum, CP3 trade...freaking Stern). Definitely gives me some concern about the future of the franchise though. I would feel a lot better if Jeannie/Phil/Mitch were running the show.

So Dwight Howard has skipped town, exited stage left, lured by Houston’s friendly tax laws and evening entertainment. And while some might be quick to chalk it up as another stain on Jim Buss’ record, this is much more a byproduct of the culture created by Buss’ missteps, than a misstep itself.

You can’t blame Dwight for choosing the better situation. Houston, with GM Daryl Morey’s intrepid wheeling and dealing, positioned themselves for this very moment, and at this point, James Harden and Kevin McHale are far stronger draws than Kobe Bryant and Mike D’Antoni. Howard gets to play with a young squad, learn tricks of the NBA big-man trade from McHale, and avoid the incessant pressure of Los Angeles.

The Laker mystique has been heavily damaged, if not broken. One does not simply spurn the Lakers, right? That Howard would leave the Lakers at the altar is indicative of how much the Laker brand has already been tainted. The need to resort to billboards and cheesy social media campaigns is just further proof.

That mystique did not, of course, evaporate overnight, but the workings of it span a decade and a half with Jim Buss’ 12-step program.

*** *** ***

Step 1: Announce Your Arrival with Your Ignorance – The Sports Illustrated Interview
Jim Buss, the son of longtime owner Jerry Buss, joined the Lakers in 1998 as an assistant general manager, working under NBA legend Jerry West. At the time, fans rightly wondered whether Jim had the chops, or if he was just the silver spooned son of Jerry Buss, born into basketball royalty. But, working under the logo man himself, easing his way into the franchise, things can’t go too badly, right?

Fans always think that they can do as good a job as front office personnel. Apparently Jim Buss thought so as well, telling Sports Illustrated, “Evaluating basketball talent is not too difficult. If you grabbed 10 fans out of a bar and asked them to rate prospects, their opinions would be pretty much identical to those of the pro scouts.”

Undermining the very profession of your subordinates is always a good first step. Also, it’s always a good idea for those born into royalty to assume readiness for the throne: “Right now my dad is Number 1 in the Lakers organization, and I’m Number 4. After another year of this apprenticeship, I’d feel comfortable going from 4 to 1. But you’d have to worry about the comfort level of the current 2 and 3.”

Step 2: Compensate for that Ignorance by Acting Like You Know Something Everybody Else Doesn’t – The Rudy Tomjanovich Hire
In 2004, after losing to the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals, the Lakers and Phil Jackson parted ways. The details of that separation are messy, something about a feud between Superman/Diesel/Big Aristotle and a kid named Kobe. Even if at that point Jim Buss had something to do with Jackson’s departure, we can’t really put that on him.

But, the subsequent hiring of Rudy Tomjanovich we can. In a reactionary move that came out of left field, Buss hired Rudy T to replace Jackson. In his own right, Rudy T is a fabulous coach, but many saw Buss’ hiring of Tomjanovich, a defensive-minded coach, as an overreaction to the Lakers’ Finals loss to the defensive Pistons. Midway through the 2004-05 season, Rudy resigned, citing mental and physical exhaustion.

Step 3: A Flash in the Pan – Drafting Andrew Bynum
In the 2005 NBA Draft, Jim Buss convinced Jerry West to draft a 17-year-old high schooler named Andrew Bynum. Many were left scratching their heads, but this actually turned out to be a good move. However, it also sets things up for long-term failure because it reinforced the notion in Jim Buss’ head that he has the Midas touch. Bynum became his gold star, and he refused to move him, standing by his prized prospect despite Bynum’s injuries and immaturity. And more significantly, Bryant’s demands to have Bynum shipped out. While it may look like Buss had impeccable timing, ridding himself of Bynum just as Bynum decided to take up bowling as rehab, holding onto Bynum raised the ire of Bryant, and dampened the Laker mystique through Bynum’s incredible immaturity, on and off the court. Bryant’s quota for tolerating immaturity was used up all too soon.

Step 4: Try Too Hard to Mark Your Territory – Doing Brian Shaw Wrong
Look, I get it. It’s instinctive. Natural. Canines have special ways of marking their territory. Humans do too. But when it’s overdone, it comes off as terribly insecure. And this is precisely what Jim Buss did when Phil Jackson retired in 2011 from his second stint with the Lakers. This was most obviously on display when Buss passed over longtime Laker assistant Brian Shaw in the coaching search. More egregious, though, was how he did it.

Despite being a longtime Laker (both as a player and a coach) and Bryant’s top choice, Shaw was not only passed over, but also found out only when the hiring of Mike Brown was reported on ESPN. Buss apparently never reached out to Shaw, a valuable member of the Laker franchise for many years. Buss’ treatment of Shaw can be attributed to an attempt to distinguish himself from any trace of Phil Jackson.

Step 5: Try Too Hard To Mark Your Territory Part II – The Scouting Department
With the departure of Jackson, Buss continued cleaning house, firing much of the Laker scouting department, including beloved assistant GM Ronnie Lester, who is often credited with the scouting of Andrew Bynum — yes, the same Bynum Buss hung his hat on.

Step 6: Playing Games with Pau’s Heart
In the wake of the failed Chris Paul deal (which can’t be put on Buss), there was some mending to be done between Gasol and the Laker organization. Gasol has continued to be the subject of trade rumors, and has had trouble finding his fit with the Lakers as far as playing closer to or farther away from the basket. Mixed messages continue to come from the front office, clearly having an effect on Gasol in the last two years. In effect, the Lakers have sabotaged the performance of their own player.

Step 7: Lamar Odom
Another party involved in the failed Chris Paul deal, Lamar Odom was incredibly valuable to the Lakers as a do-it-all player off the bench. Odom found out that he was a piece in the Paul deal from… wait for it… ESPN (what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate). Odom was moved shortly thereafter to Dallas. Buss didn’t put in the work to mend that broken relationship, and as a result, the Lakers bench was left in tatters. The Lakers got virtually nothing in return (although this deal did eventually help L.A. snag Steve Nash).

Step 8: The Mike Brown Saga
As previously mentioned, Brian Shaw was passed over for the coaching gig. Well, not only did Buss pass over Brian Shaw, he didn’t even give a good run at Jeff Van Gundy, Rick Adelman and Mike Dunleavy, the top coaching candidates available. Instead, he hired Mike Brown, who tried to install the Princeton Offense, a complete misfit with the Lakers personnel. But hey, at least Buss owned up to his mistake… by firing Brown five games into his second season. Also, note that Buss hired Brown because he was impressed with his “defense-minded style.” Keep that in mind as we go on.

Step 9: Indecisiveness with Ramon Sessions
In the 2011-12 season, the Lakers made a midseason trade to acquire the Cavaliers backup point guard Ramon Sessions, managing to dump Luke Walton and Jason Kapono’s contracts in the process. They needed a quick, young point guard to keep them competitive in a league full of emerging quick point guards. The Lakers overpaid for Sessions, giving up a first-round draft pick in the process (and another in the Jordan Hill trade), but one can argue that they had to overpay. Regardless, Buss allowed his fear of the luxury tax to keep him from re-signing Sessions (who wasn’t asking for all that much), and instead put all their chips in with an almost 40-year-old Steve Nash. Overpaying for someone is usually forgivable, as long as you get him for more than half a season.

Step 10: Ultra Nostalgia – Signing Steve Nash
Steve Nash is a guy you want on your team, in most cases, but when he’s pushing 40 and the price is four draft picks and $27 million over three years, well, that’s a different story. Thirty-eight is an age that you don’t want when it comes to paying that much for a basketball player. Yes, it’s harsh to evaluate human beings that way, but in a business predicated upon pushing the human body beyond normal boundaries, that evaluation is the norm.

Step 11: Hiring Mike D’Antoni
Buss hired Mike Brown in part because he was impressed with his emphasis on defense. Yet when they fired Brown, they promptly replaced him with Mike D’Antoni, a coach notoriously lazy when it comes to defense. But at least D’Antoni has a reputation for handling petulant superstars, so they could count on him to make Dwight and Kobe work (that’s sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice).

D’Antoni has gone on to mismanage the minutes of aging stars Nash and Bryant, compounding Buss’ errors. Nash ended up playing in only 50 regular season games for the Lakers, and Bryant went down with the most troubling injury of his career. As of this writing, Mike D’Antoni is still the Lakers’ head coach.

Step 12: Phil Jackson
When Mike Brown was fired, the Lakers had the opportunity to entice Jackson to come back for a third stint. It’s not clear if Buss ever had the intention of swallowing his pride and hiring Phil Jackson, or if Jackson’s demands were as ludicrous as Buss made them out to be. Either way, when it comes to a figure like the Zen Master himself, you pretty much have to go all in. Had he not previously engaged Jackson in the power struggle, Buss would have been in a better position to get Jackson back to right the Laker ship.

All told the Jim Buss reign has been directionless, void of long-term vision, and lacking cohesion, making for an undesirable environment for Howard to return to. Now that Howard is officially gone, Buss will have to decide if he’s going to maintain an illusion of competitiveness, or if he’s willing to bite the bullet and go back to the drawing board… because in Los Angeles, with the Lakers’ mystique, however damaged it is right now, it’s championship or bust. Middle of the pack simply will not do.


http://dimemag.com/2013/07/how-to-lose-dwight-howard-destroy-the-lakers-in-12-steps-the-jim-buss-plan/
Last edited by unpossibl1 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby lakerfan2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:44 am

Meh...he's made some bad decisions, but what ultimately destroyed the plans was the veto.
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby unpossibl1 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:48 am

lakerfan2 wrote:Meh...he's made some bad decisions, but what ultimately destroyed the plans was the veto.


I agree...the CP3 trade would have essentially been a cure-all, both financially and on the basketball court. We would likely be building around CP3/Kobe/Dwight right now.
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby therealdeal on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:52 am

unpossibl1 wrote:
lakerfan2 wrote:Meh...he's made some bad decisions, but what ultimately destroyed the plans was the veto.


I agree...the CP3 trade would have essentially been a cure-all, both financially and on the basketball court. We would likely be building around CP3/Kobe/Dwight right now.

Yep.

Buss made his mistakes, but most of them were coaching decisions. And that's something his father struggled with at times as well.

I don't know how people AREN'T sick of bashing on Jim Buss at this point... I mean really.
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby kenshi1023 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:59 am

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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Psychobroker on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:13 am

IMHO - Dwight's departure should be in the "Additions by Subtraction" Thread.
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby purp n gold on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:25 am

lakerfan2 wrote:Meh...he's made some bad decisions, but what ultimately destroyed the plans was the veto.


Agreed. I'm critical of Jimmy and he needs no excuses, but the veto is what really screwed us.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Rooscooter on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:30 am

Why is the Veto considered a significantly bad thing. CP3 is a lot like Howard in that he's not the guy to lead a team anywhere meaningful. Having he and Howard would be great for the bottom line but it wouldn't get us to another championship.

I think a lot of our current issues go back to 2004 and the philosophy of how we built the Phil-Tri led teams afterward. We got the Chips but we also didn't draft/develop anyone other than Bynum which was done in the significant "head winds" created by Mitch and Phil. If Jim didn't push for Bynum we'd have had Phil's and Mitch's choice of May..... and now way to get Howard in the first place.

Waaaay too shortsighted to just look at the "veto" and Howard leaving as the issues we're facing now..... they extend back quite a ways with the types of players we chose and more importantly the ones we didn't.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby OX1947 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:34 am

paul, kobe and howard would have worked perfectly. Paul the creator, howard the finisher and kobe the executor.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby pound4pound1 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:42 am

Tommy Boy has made bad coaching decisions but you gotta give him credit, he's gone after ALL the top free agents that we wanted
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Psychobroker on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:44 am

OX1947 wrote:paul, kobe and howard would have worked perfectly. Paul the creator, howard the finisher and kobe the executor.


Did you forget that Dwight Howard wanted Kobe amnestied and to be "given" the team? Do you think he would have bought in anymore to D'Antoni's system if it were Paul instead of Nash, a guy who worked in it? Or are you assuming we'd still have Mike Brown as a HC?

Even if so, that doesn't change Dwight Howard's selfish, entitled mentality. No WAY he would play 3rd fiddle to Kobe and Paul, or stand up to the pressure of playing in L.A. (he didn't). No way.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby lakerfan2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:51 am

Rooscooter wrote:Why is the Veto considered a significantly bad thing. CP3 is a lot like Howard in that he's not the guy to lead a team anywhere meaningful. Having he and Howard would be great for the bottom line but it wouldn't get us to another championship.

I think a lot of our current issues go back to 2004 and the philosophy of how we built the Phil-Tri led teams afterward. We got the Chips but we also didn't draft/develop anyone other than Bynum which was done in the significant "head winds" created by Mitch and Phil. If Jim didn't push for Bynum we'd have had Phil's and Mitch's choice of May..... and now way to get Howard in the first place.

Waaaay too shortsighted to just look at the "veto" and Howard leaving as the issues we're facing now..... they extend back quite a ways with the types of players we chose and more importantly the ones we didn't.


Well to any extent, being a successfully consistent team over the past decade or so hasn't netted us a lottery pick player. The one we did get, was Bynum. As much as JB wanted to draft him, a lot of credit should go to the scout that JB ultimately fired.

You have to remember, we also drafted Marc Gasol, by in which, we netted Pau Gasol and then 2 championships. We were making the right moves.

Then complacency set in with players, internal matters such as Phil learning about his Prostate Cancer diagnosis, kind of slowly fell apart in the 2011 season.

This is all the while, Lakers were trying to make moves to fit a new system with Phil gone. CP3 and Howard don't seem like fits because they haven't played with another superstar before. Kobe, Dwight and CP3 would've attracted more capable players like the Shane Battiers to come at a cut to compete.

We see it now with Houston and the Clippers, AK took a cut to play in Brooklyn.

A lot did take place during that veto. Lakers didn't get their star. Their current players, feelings were hurt, especially coming off having such great chemistry. Then a few years of downtime and now the fans want to blame JB?
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby jlkr on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:53 am

Psychobroker wrote:
OX1947 wrote:paul, kobe and howard would have worked perfectly. Paul the creator, howard the finisher and kobe the executor.


Did you forget that Dwight Howard wanted Kobe amnestied and to be "given" the team? Do you think he would have bought in anymore to D'Antoni's system if it were Paul instead of Nash, a guy who worked in it? Or are you assuming we'd still have Mike Brown as a HC?

Even if so, that doesn't change Dwight Howard's selfish, entitled mentality. No WAY he would play 3rd fiddle to Kobe and Paul, or stand up to the pressure of playing in L.A. (he didn't). No way.

+1

At the time of the veto, I was upset at losing out on the vision of CP3 and D12 with Kobe. But looking back, we should now realize that D12 never would have accepted 3rd billing to Kobe and CP3. Plus imagine CP3 trying to play in the Princeton offense ... sorta like what they said about Nash playing for Terry Porter a few years back ... "a hummingbird in a paper bag".
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby OX1947 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:54 am

Psychobroker wrote:
OX1947 wrote:paul, kobe and howard would have worked perfectly. Paul the creator, howard the finisher and kobe the executor.


Did you forget that Dwight Howard wanted Kobe amnestied and to be "given" the team? Do you think he would have bought in anymore to D'Antoni's system if it were Paul instead of Nash, a guy who worked in it? Or are you assuming we'd still have Mike Brown as a HC?

Even if so, that doesn't change Dwight Howard's selfish, entitled mentality. No WAY he would play 3rd fiddle to Kobe and Paul, or stand up to the pressure of playing in L.A. (he didn't). No way.


All these affletes are selfish, whiny cry babies. Kobe would have left the Lakers had Shaq stayed in 2004. Chris Paul would have left if Sterling didnt overpay for Doc Rivers. Howard is a douche bag with 6 illegitimate children.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby wcsoldier81 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:03 pm

Well , all these doubts and Jim detractors will not dissapear until the Lakers win another title ... let's see what he's going to do for the next few years ... you can't say his resume has been promising so far
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Re: How JB Lost Dwight Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby wcsoldier81 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:11 pm

lakerfan2 wrote:Meh...he's made some bad decisions, but what ultimately destroyed the plans was the veto.


Plan B ? Pau was still tradable for 2/3 young quality players and pick(s) until the March 2012 deadline ...

Lakers FO was obsessed with absolutely getting a star in return for Pau and watched his value decreased deadline after deadline , summer after summer ... and is going to let Pau contract expire and get nothing in return ... what a terrible waste of an asset
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby The Rock on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:12 pm

The 2011 NBA lockout screwed up the Lakers, other 29 owners whine and moaned and came up with a system that penalized the Lakers the most with the current roster and made sure they dont rebuild quickly and also eliminated any advantage we had...it pretty much evened the field.

And even when we still played by the new rules we still got screwed

Jim Buss on the fly acquired Dwight and Nash, two all stars when we were supposed to dead in the waters until 2014. At least we had 1 year of potential. SMDH at all this Jim Buss hate
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby khmrP on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:14 pm

Even if we had cp3 and howard I still think jimbo hire antoni or anyone else beside Phil.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby V.V.V.V.V. on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:42 pm

I won't blame him for going after Dwight and cp3, or Bynum.

1) But Nash was a bad move, at 38 years old.

2) The coaches have been inexcusable. MB and then MDA. Terrible bonehead hires. Skipping over Phil.

3)Finally, the lack of communication that alienated Pau and Lamar. Very unprofessional.

What it looks like to me is that he makes his moves at the level of thinking of the guys at the bar. Just like he said, anyone can make these basketball decisions, even regular fans at the local bar. He goes for big-name players and coaches, without trying to understand why these guys were successful. Nash was still early thirties when he was winning with MDA and winning MVPs, which most of us still agree should have gone to Kobe or TD. MDA had the perfect personnel for his success in Pho, and Nash was the best ever for his system, and in his prime. MB had LBron and Stern to pad his wins. Rudy was a has been who used alcohol to cope with the stress. Dwight was a fabricated superstar under the Stern regime. I'm afraid he'll target LeBron when he's way past his prime, and give him a 5 year max deal. The guy thinks like a fan stuck in the past.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Phil XI on Fri Jul 12, 2013 12:49 pm

Article misplaces the blame on Dwight deciding to leave on the 'tarnished' laker brand, conveniently leaving out the 'Dwight cant/ doesn't want the pressure of being the next Laker leader' part of the equation.

I won't defend Tommy Boy but he wasn't in a silo. Dr Buss, Jeanie, Mitch and others also were at the table in some of those decisions.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Lets Go Lakers on Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:00 pm

D'Antoni and Brown!!!!!!!!!! :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang: :bang:
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Weezy on Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:27 pm

I'm not the biggest Jim Buss fan, but this article makes even me want to defend him, way too much blame for one man. I agree with a couple of the points a lot (like the ignorant comments Jim made in his early days here) a coupe in some ways, and the rest not much, if at all. Like Sessions, he bolted on his own, I don't think he liked the big stage here or Mike Brown.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby Lakerjones on Fri Jul 12, 2013 1:35 pm

While I don't love the overly dramatic tone of the article in general, I knew Jim Buss was going to take more heat after this season and after the Dwight debacle. And it's pretty deserved IMO.

If you look at Buss' track record so far it's not so pretty. The article makes all the same points we've been talking about here for some time. Most of all the coaching hires have been nothing short of atrocious. Just heinous. There's simply no way anyone can argue that point any more.

But so far I've been pretty much on board with most of Jim's (and Mitch's) personnel decisions. I liked Hill, liked Sessions, liked the Bynum for Dwight trade, thought that Meeks and Jamison were good signings. I was definitely on the fence about the CP3 for Pau trade, but I think it was the right move and the right time to get the best value for Pau. On that I don't disagree with it. I just thought it was tempting fate to do it right after the CBA while the other owners and even Stern were vocal about keeping the Lakers from doing that exact kind of thing all summer long. Given the loophole of the NBA owning NO it probably wasn't the wisest move in hindsight. I think it might have spoken to Jim's tendencies toward impulsiveness . . . like how he jumped so quick for Mike Brown, and also D' Antoni.

I was all the way in for the Nash for LO's TPE. I had no problem with that. The injury was a freak one and it really cost us badly this year. I'm hoping he can still pan out in some ways although we're clearly not going to be playing for a championship with him now.

I also didn't mind that Bynum was Buss' baby so to speak. He waited for him to develop and moved him at the perfect time.

But ultimately the track record is what people will judge you on. And so far the Lakers have not gotten any closer to championship contention since he took over the day to day ops as owner. In fact they look further away than ever after losing D12.

Still it's too early to give up on him. Have to see if he and Mitch can rebuild this thing. At some point though, if they start really sucking I wonder what will happen with that Time Warner deal. Count me in as one who would feel a whole lot better if Jeannie was either in charge or at least involved more in the basketball operations.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby revgen on Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:08 pm

Jim Buss isn't the worst owner ever. He's not a cheapskate who won't spend money.

I just wish he'd let Mitch figure out how to spend it.
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Re: How Jim Buss Lost Howard And Destroyed The Lakers-12 Steps

Postby puffyusaf#2 on Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:21 pm

Boy anything to not put the blame on Dwight.
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