One of the biggest Hollywood secrets has been the strained relationship between siblings, Jeanie and Jim Buss.
Less face it, they don’t like one another, and that came out publicly after she fired him as Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month. He wasn’t alone as Jeanie relieved long-time employee Mitch Kupchak of his general manager duties, and brought back Laker legend Magic Johnson into the fold to run the daily operations of the franchise.
An Act Straight Out of Game of Thrones
The more shocking revelation was the attempted coup d’e’tat by Jim and his older brother, Johnny, to remove Jeanie from atop her throne overlooking Laker Kingdom. Together, they brought legal action against their sister in an attempt to strip her of all executive powers with the franchise. Many legal experts felt the lawsuit submitted to Los Angeles Superior Court has too many flaws and failed to provide any evidence that showed her to be derelict in her position with the team. The consensus was they wouldn’t gain a favorable ruling unless the brothers change the tone of the paperwork. Jeanie’s counter argument was the firings were justifiable because Jim failed in his role to rebuild the roster, and would have been let go earlier if his name wasn’t Buss.
Walton Seems to Have Survived
The relationship between Lakers head coach Luke Walton and Jeanie Buss is quite good as they talk often in-person during the week if their schedules coincide. This wasn’t the case with the past two Laker (Mike D’Antoni and Byron Scott) coaches as Jeanie had little contact with them during their tenure with the club. The lack of communication brought her frustration to the forefront, and confirmed to Jeanie that a front office upheaval was needed to end the rapid decline of the franchise.
The occasional chat with Jeanie has done wonders for Walton’s job stability. He was put in an awkward situation as Walton had a terrific relationship with the recently fired management team. He was candid with the press about being surprised with the announcement of Jim and Mitch’s firings. Walton accepted the head coaching position with the belief that they would work together in bringing the Lakers back to prominence, but life in the NBA is constantly changing and you must make the necessary adjustments to survive in the sport.
The State of the Franchise
The Lakers are near the bottom of the standings and in the midst of their fourth straight losing season. The team should benefit greatly from the their struggles as they have a top-three protective lottery pick in this June’s Draft.
All signs point toward the Lakers drafting UCLA freshman guard Lonzo Ball, who could be the final piece to their rebuilding puzzle. This would make the city of Los Angeles very happy, especially for one proud papa, LaVar Ball, who has openly campaigned for his son to play for the hometown team.
The Lakers are on the right course in rebuilding the franchise, as the hiring of Magic didn’t solve the problem, but allow them to hit the reset button. The fans believe their beloved hero is ready for the challenge, and expectations are high that it won’t be long before the Lakers are back contending for a NBA title.
But for right now, the playoffs seem to be nowhere in sight.