The Los Angeles Lakers are in a position they are not accustomed to being in since Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the franchise back in 1979, and that is being in a state of uncertainty. Uncertain of the direction of the Lakers going forward and lacking confidence in the leadership that has succeeded Dr. Buss is what causes uneasiness with the Lakers fan base which include season ticket holders, casual fans, die hard fans, former Laker players that still have love for the team and those that cover the Lakers.
As per the wishes of Dr. Buss, those entrusted with running the Lakers are his two children, Jeanie and Jim Buss, that have been groomed for their positions for years. While the operations of the Lakers has been split between the two, Jeanie handling the business side and Jim in charge of basketball operations, it is mainly Jim that has gotten ire from the Lakers fan base. The fans anger and frustration grew steadily throughout the season which at one point culminated with demanding the heads of the Lakers leadership on a platter. While most cries were for the firing of head coach Mike D’Antoni, right behind him were those asking for Jim Buss to step down.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Jim Buss revealed a startling declaration he made in a meeting he had with his 5 siblings earlier this year that could get Laker fans exactly what they have been clamoring for this season.
“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 L.A. Times about his statement in the meeting.
There would be some difficulty in removing Jim from his position, considering he is part owner, along with the other 5 siblings. You can’t necessarily fire an owner, but Buss explained how it would work if he were to step down.
“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.” Jim Buss added.
While Jim revealed that he has imposed a deadline on himself for turning around the Lakers or stepping down, he remained confident that it will never come to that point.
“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.” Jim Buss stated.
It’s been only one year since Dr. Buss passed away, one NBA season that has gone on without his influence, one season where the Lakers missed the playoffs and ended with their worst record in Los Angeles Lakers history, yet it feels like this 1 year has gone on for ages. Losing after decades of winning at the highest levels will make one season like this seem longer. The prestige that Dr. Jerry Buss created is both a reward and a penalty. The penalty being exceptionally high expectations that are higher than any other sports franchise. An expectation that Jim Buss has vowed to uphold. Jim Buss has now put himself on the clock.
– Fern Rea
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