Lakers owner Jeanie Buss wasn’t happy with the way her team’s season played out, she said in a wide-ranging interview with Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. With championship expectations and one of the NBA’s most expensive rosters entering the 2021/22 season, Los Angeles went 33-49 and missed both the playoffs and the play-in tournament.
“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league,” Buss told Plaschke. “… When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs. So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for. … I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”
As the final decision-maker on Lakers matters, Buss said it was up to her to “make things better” after an “extremely disappointing” year, which could mean making personnel changes on and off the court.
“Absolutely, if we are not living up to the Lakers standard, absolutely I will look at everything,” she said. “… I will make the hard decisions, because that’s what you have to do.”
Although it sounds like front office changes could be on the table if the Lakers have another down year, Buss appears prepared to give VP of basketball operations Rob Pelinka and his group at least one more shot to reshape and upgrade the roster, as well as to hire a new head coach, Plaschke writes.
“In terms of basketball decisions, I have complete confidence in our front office, which is headed by Rob Pelinka,” Buss said. “He is a person that is extremely smart, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and with purpose. … I have complete confidence that he can put together a roster and find a coach that is going to get us back to where we belong.”
Here’s more from Buss on the state of the Lakers:
- Buss confirmed that she receives input from Kurt Rambis, Linda Rambis, Magic Johnson, Phil Jackson, LeBron James, and Klutch Sports, but insists that none of those figures have outsized voices within the organization. “Do they have final say? No. Are they running the team? No, no, not at all,” Buss said when asked about James and Klutch Sports, adding that it’s normal for teams to bounce ideas off of their top players. “I am controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, I’m held accountable for every decision that’s made here.”
- Buss defended Kurt Rambis’ track record against what she perceives as “unfair criticism” and stressed that Linda Rambis has no input in basketball decisions. “In terms of Linda Rambis, she does not have a role in the basketball department; her role is, as it’s been for the last almost 40 years, is as my advisor,” Buss told Plaschke. “She and I have worked together for years and years and years. Why that has become an issue for people, I don’t understand.” Linda helps new Lakers players and their families adjust to Los Angeles, according to Buss: “Every team has somebody like that, in our case it’s Linda. … She’s done that for over 30 years with the Lakers. Not like all of a sudden she’s become the assistant general manager, that’s not true.”
- Buss believes the Lakers can win another title with James and Anthony Davis as their cornerstones, but declined to speculate on Russell Westbrook‘s future with the team. “Having a conversation like that is premature,” she said. “We have to now find the right coach to lead this team. Depending on the style of play that that coach wants to play, given the roster that we have, it all has to start to come together.”
- Buss hasn’t given any thought to the idea of selling the Lakers, telling Plaschke that her late father Jerry Buss always wanted to keep the franchise in the family. “I’m not going anywhere. This is exactly what my dad asked me to do. The team is not for sale,” Jeanie said. “… I like to say, my dad had his children, but the Lakers were his baby, and he put me in charge of the baby, and I will make sure that the baby thrives.”
22 thoughts on “Lakers’ Jeanie Buss Discusses Down Year, Front Office, More”
That interview was the stereotypical PR interview that owners give after a bad year. Swap the various names and it’s a James Dolan interview.
Jeanie can talk about “hard decisions” and such but the reality is that the Lakers are going to have to pull a lot of rabbits out of hats to be championship caliber any time soon.
Well said, and on point.
It does not sound like James is the GM… Seven names were mentioned, and I’m sure the HC would be too normally… that waters down everyone.
James-haters give James too much credit (or blame).
Pelinka is described as:
“extremely smart, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and with purpose. … I have complete confidence”
Not words used on someone ignored.
It is widely reported that James showed enthusiasm in adding Westbrook. That would green-light that trade for Pelinka who would inquire from existing stars regardless.
Trading depth for depth would have made more sense but Pelinka must have had misgivings about the other package from Sacto. Too bad, that would have been interesting, with Hield & Bagley & maybe KCP kept. Maybe Caruso too eventually if they would have dealt THT. Whatever.
It sure sounds like the team is in good hands and is being run perfectly! /s
That many cooks in the kitchen why not add Santa Claus as he knows what everyone needs. This team isn’t winning anything soon.
How does Rambus, without a title, have a track record?
Not sure who Rambus is but Kurt Rambis has 4 NBA championships as a player, 2 as an assistant coach and 3 as an executive.
Excuse my typo. I know who Rambis is. You pointing out his accomplishments as a player and a couple of positions he’s held is kind of the problem. He has no official title and his power is murky at best. How many GMs have to deal with that much redundancy and oversight? What’s the limit to “special adviser” and how does one evaluate whether they are or aren’t good in that role?
I apologize about teasing you on the typo that’s just the sarcasm coming out.
As far as my pointing out his accomplishments I misconstrued what you meant by title. I read it as a criticism of him holding an advisory position on account that he has no titles as in championships. I now realize you meant title such as Executive Vice President and such.
You are correct in saying it would be wrong to criticize Rambis as it is murky as to what his role is. However whatever role he serves in his accomplishments as a player, coach and executive would establish a successful track record. Most teams have multiple people with the title of “special advisor” and their roles vary from person to person. Some act as player and coach mentors, others as nothing more than public relations, some as a trusted ear for personnel decisions and some act as all of the above so Pelinka’s situation would be no different than most GMs.
championship expectation = new coach x new bench – Westbrook x Y
My playoffs prediction
Lakers out again
I think asking for input from player’s agents is not smart, except when it’s directly related to contract negotiations.
I also wonder why anyone involved in the final decision to acquire Westbrook ignored the fact that he failed to fit in or adjust at 3 previous stops, or just thought this time would be different somehow.
Lakers are looking for a coach who can fit Westbrook style of play seamlessly because of championship expectation
His style doesn’t fit his teammates, that’s the problem. People dump on Harden for being selfish all the time, but he can at least shoot. Sometimes he’s even a willing distributor.
Pelinka, smart? Those words mix like oil and water. He is the guy that ruined the Lakers roster about a year ago with the Westbrook trade.
He’s also the guy that threw in all the chips and brought AD over which helped the Lakers win a championship.
Davis was not brought over to the Lakers ! Davis was only going to play for the Lakers. How smart do you have to be ?
Yeah, and fortunately it turned out better than the Nets trading their future for KG and Truth.
Growing impatient? Good grief
Odd expecting a result b/c of how much money she spent …that’s just not how it works
Time to put the Daddy talk to bed as well, maybe step up and take some responsibility as well
@C&C – I Agree.
Jeanie has fallen into the second generation trap of expecting success via a formula that only accounts for her inputs. At least she is dutiful and understands that she’s “held” responsible. But until she owns results (vs being unhappy over them), there’s no reason for anyone else in the LAL organization to. LAL fans can just hope the right voice makes the right case on the right topic at the right time. It happens.
What a circus. Sell the team. Or don’t and fans of every other team will continue to laugh hysterically