It's been pretty quiet lately on the Jim Buss front. Mitch has received a ton of attention and praise after the big trades and signings. With all of the questions surrounding Jim's leadership and what he'll do with the team, I think it's safe to say we can all expect the same commitment from him as we got from his dad. Here's what this offseason says about him (in my opinion):
First off, I think the results surprised everyone - fans and critics alike. The critics stood on their soapboxes talking about how the Lakers were handcuffed by the cap. Nobody thought they had the assets needed to make a big splash, let alone be able to maintain a contending roster if a Howard trade was made. Very few thought they could do half as much as they actually did. In the short term luxury taxes will be fairly harsh, especially next season. Fans knew this too.
But what so many of the critics (who kept referencing the luxury tax situation and the cap space) failed to realize is that there was more than just the next couple of seasons at stake here. They underestimated what Buss was willing to sacrifice in luxury tax penalties in order to secure long term revenue for the organization with Howard on the roster - not to mention the ability to win now and in the future. With Howard, they found the best possible player to fill the need of the current roster and also take Kobe's place as the face of the franchise in a couple years. They kept the tradition going - something the critics were convinced was impossible. The eventual and eminent road to mediocrity for the organization, post-Kobe Bryant, was being thrown in our face in the comments of every NBA blog/article.
I believe that Jim Buss has shown that we can all trust him. His next test will be what he does with Pau after this season and how he handles Kobe's next contract. But that's later, let's just focus on the now. He gave Mitch the green light to work his magic and make a couple big trades that will force the organization to spend more money than they really wanted to the next couple of years. They took a big risk, but did so because they had the opportunity to win now and make more money in the long term. It was a smart strategy, full of risk and extremely gutsy. And as a fan, I'm ecstatic! I love this organization.
Hats off to Jim Buss. Thanks for taking the same risks that your father took before you to keep this team contending for championships.
Buck Foston, LA Rules