Lakers president and part owner Jeanie Buss will face a major decision after the season ends, writes Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Buss could signal a change of direction for the franchise by firing her brother Jim, who serves as executive vice president, and GM Mitch Kupchak. It has been nearly three years since Jim Buss promised to resign if the Lakers weren’t “contending for a championship” in three or four seasons. Coming off three of the worst seasons in franchise history, L.A. sparked some hope with a 10-10 start, but has lost 12 of its last 13 games. “We’re like every other team that we will play a season and we will assess that season when it’s over,” Jeanie Buss said. “No reason to speculate on any possible changes. It’s a waste of time to speculate.”
There’s more news from the Pacific Division:
- Nearly all of the Lakers‘ offseason signees are now eligible to be included in trades, notes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. Power forward Thomas Robinson passed his deadline December 23rd, a day after Metta World Peace. Marcelo Huertas, Luol Deng, Timofey Mozgov and Jordan Clarkson all became eligible on December 15th. The one exception is backup center Tarik Black, who cannot be traded until January 15th. League rules stipulate a later deadline for him because he received at least a 20% salary increase while re-signing with Bird rights.
- Critical comments about the time he spent coaching the Kings were removed from George Karl’s new book, according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears and Marc Stein. A proof copy of “Furious George” obtained by the network included negative passages about DeMarcus Cousins, GM Vlade Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive. Karl said he had “not authorized” those parts of the book to be included. Sources told ESPN that Karl agreed to refrain from critical statements about the organization in the settlement he reached when he left the team after last season.
- Anthony Tolliver is earning more playing time with the Kings, relays James Ham of CSNBayArea. The well-traveled forward signed with Sacramento in July for $16MM over two seasons. He has been in and out of the rotation during the first two months of the season, but has found a larger role in the past week. “Professional — he can sit five games in a row and his name is called and he’s going to come out and play like it’s his last game,” Cousins said. “True professional. He’s always ready to play.”