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Lakers Rumors: Bryant, D’Antoni, Jeanie Buss

Kobe Bryant has reportedly had enough of coach Mike D’Antoni, but in a radio appearance today on The Dan Patrick Show, Bryant gave an ambiguous answer in response to Patrick’s question about whether D’Antoni deserves another season as Lakers coach.

“I don’t know,” Bryant said. “It’s been tough on him. The two years that he’s been here, he’s been dealing with so many injuries left and right. He hasn’t really gotten a fair deal, a fair shake at it since he’s been here.”

Bryant also softened some of his recent public criticisms of Lakers management, expressing confidence that co-owners Jeanie and Jim Buss are cooperating with each other after having called upon them last week to resolve their differences. Jeanie Buss had much to say about that issue and plenty Lakers-related subjects in a one-on-one Tuesday night with Bill Macdonald on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, and Trevor Wong of provides a transcription. We covered a couple of snippets from the interview earlier, but there’s plenty more, as we highlight here:

  • Jeanie Buss doesn’t appear upset with Bryant for expressing his frustration with management during last week’s press conference. “I will talk to him and I will commiserate with him because I know how he feels,” Buss said.
  • Buss has no regrets over Bryant’s $48.5MM extension that kicks in for next season. “I don’t wear a hat and a t-shirt with ‘cap space’ on it,” she said. “I’m more interested in the players and how the players fit together and how the players come together and creating something than just the sum of their parts.”
  • Buss called the prospect of Bryant retiring a Laker “really important,” adding that she’s “thrilled.” Still, Bryant hasn’t definitively said that he’ll retire when his contract is up in the summer of 2016.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver told Buss in their meeting on Monday that he doesn’t see a conflict of interest with Phil Jackson, her fiance, joining the Knicks because Buss doesn’t make personnel moves, as Buss explained.
  • All six Buss siblings exercise some degree of control over the franchise, but Jeanie Buss told Macdonald that “the buck stops with me,” asserting her role as the ultimate decision-maker for the team. Still, Jim Buss continues to manage basketball operations.
  • The relationship between Jeanie and Jim is reportedly still rocky, but she said that “by and large,” the family is still on the same page.
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