Jeanie Buss isn’t happy the Los Angeles Lakers aren’t in the playoffs, and the team’s CEO and president said she’s gotten input from some familiar faces, including Phil Jackson, Magic Johnson and, yes, Lebron Jamesas to how the team can get back to the postseason.
“If we’re not up to the Lakers’ standards, I’m absolutely going to look at everything,” Buss told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published Tuesday. “I’ll make the tough decisions, because that’s what you have to do.”
After missing the playoffs with a 33-49 record, the Lakers, who had the fourth-highest payroll in the NBA, fired coach Frank Vogel in April. While general manager Rob Pelinka is the point man in the organization’s search for a replacement, sources told ESPN last week that Buss, Jackson and longtime adviser Kurt Rambis are also a big part of the organization. talks to screen candidates.
Jackson, the Hall of Fame coach, won five of his 11 NBA championships during his two terms with the Lakers. He is also Buss’s ex-boyfriend.
“People see us around town, we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever…it’s not romantic at all,” Buss told the LA Times. “He’s someone who knows this environment and knows the challenges that I have and wants to see the Lakers succeed, so he’s someone who I know has no agenda other than for the Lakers to succeed, so he’s someone I can lean on.” .
The Magic, the team’s legendary Hall of Fame player who hastily resigned as Lakers president in 2019 amid suggestions of “betrayals,” have also had Buss’ attention during this time.
Asked by the LA Times if he was trusting Johnson’s advice again, Buss said, “Absolutely.”
“Simply put, the Lakers are important to him and he wants the Lakers to win, and he wants the Lakers to come out on top,” Buss told the Times. “I know that’s in his heart and I trust him and … my relationship with him is as good as ever.”
Buss said he’s also seeking input from James, his star player who he hopes is “happy” enough to move on with the Lakers.
“It’s normal when you have a top player or players that you check things out with them,” Buss told the LA Times. “I think it’s smart business.”
Buss, however, made it clear that the Lakers are still his team.
“Do they have the last word? No,” Buss said when asked if LeBron and Klutch Sports are running the Lakers. “Are they running the team? No, no, not at all. I own the Los Angeles Lakers. I’m responsible for every decision that’s made here.”
And that responsibility apparently includes keeping Pelinka, who has been with the team since 2017.
“In terms of basketball decisions, I have full confidence in our front office, which is headed by Rob Pelinka,” Buss told the LA Times. “He’s an extremely smart person, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and purposeful…I have full confidence that he can put together a roster and find a coach that will get us back to where we want to be.”
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Jeanie Buss consults LeBron on team decisions