Jeanie, Jim Buss On Kobe, Trade, Tanking

The shine is off the NBA’s most glamorous franchise these days, as the Lakers failed to land a star in free agency last summer and bring up the rear in the Pacific Division this season with a 6-16 record so far. Atop the organization are Jeanie Buss and Jim Buss, the most notorious of the six Buss siblings who together own the team. Jeanie is the team’s controlling owner, while Jim oversees the team’s on-court matters as executive vice president of basketball operations. They failed to see eye-to-eye two years ago when the Lakers hired Mike D’Antoni to coach the team instead of Phil Jackson, Jeanie’s fiance. Jeanie tells Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com that any conflict between them is in the past, though it seems clear that the feelings from that decision are still raw. Shelburne has much more from her interview with the brother-and-sister duo, and her entire transcript of the conversation is worth a read, especially for Lakers faithful. We’ll pass along a few highlights here:

Jeanie Buss on Kobe Bryant‘s two-year, $48.5MM extension, which runs through 2015/16:

“I think there’s maybe a handful of guys in the league that are worth as much as he is and we’re lucky to have him. I think he’s worth every penny.”

Jim Buss on what the extension represents:

“I think it does send a message. We’ve been sending that message for 30 years. We take care of our players. For me, I believed in Kobe’s ability to play at a high level. He deserves it.”

Jim Buss on whether there’s a chance the Lakers would trade Bryant: 

“No. I love Kobe Bryant. I think L.A. loves Kobe Bryant. I don’t envision him going anywhere. I don’t see it.”

Jeanie Buss on the same topic: 

“I don’t want to see Kobe Bryant leave. But we understand the realities of the sports world. Take [Shaquille O’Neal], for example. He was traded and played for several other teams. But once he retired, he asked us to retire his jersey. He wanted to be remembered as a Laker. So while I get attached, I know what the realities are in this business. It’s never going to change what we’ve accomplished together. But I don’t look forward to the day that Kobe Bryant’s not in purple and gold.”

Jeanie Buss on tanking:

“The teams that use tanking as a strategy are doing damage. If you’re in tanking mode, that means you’ve got young players who you’re teaching bad habits to. I think that’s unforgivable. If you’re tanking and you have young players or you keep a short roster, you’re playing guys out of their position or too many minutes, you’re risking injury. It’s irresponsible and I don’t think it belongs in any league.”

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Charliemyboy
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Charliemyboy
1 year 9 months ago

Chandler for Westbrook? Sounds good. We’ll throw in Nate and JaVale to boot!

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