The Los Angeles Lakers have had some power struggles in the front office as of late. It looked like the Buss brothers were trying to push Jeanie out of her controlling ownership position, which was later denied by the brothers. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss were relieved of their duties, and that’s when this all seemingly began. The two were replaced by Magic Johnson as president of Basketball Operations, and Rob Pelinka took over as general manager.
Jeanie Buss has been working with the Lakers in some capacity since they were playing at the Forum. In 1999, she became the executive vice president of business operations for the team. Recently, an agreement was made that put Jeanie Buss in control of the Los Angeles Lakers for life.
The Lakers have been in a slump, to say the least, for the last few seasons. Bringing in Luke Walton was a good move, but the Lakers have not been able to land any great players as they had in years past. Jim Buss made a comment back in 2014 that he would quit if the team was not contending in three or four years.
In April of 2014, he told the Los Angeles Times the following.
“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed. I don’t know if you can fire yourself if you own the team … but what I would say is I’d walk away and you guys figure out who’s going to run basketball operations because I obviously couldn’t do the job.”
While it hasn’t quite been three years, Jeanie seemed to be keeping him to that statement. While the Lakers have received a ton of young talent through the last few drafts, they haven’t made much headway in the wins column.
With Magic Johnson, the Lakers now have a former star player back at the helm as they did when Jerry Buss was general manager. While Rob Pelinka might not have too much front office experience, he’s been an agent for the likes of Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher, and more. He knows the game and knows how GMs work just based on his previous experience with them.
The most recent event, though, is Jeanie Buss giving Jim’s trustee spot to their sister Janie. While Jeanie will keep controlling ownership for life, she’s also to be the head of the board of directors for life, as well. Ramona Shelburne at ESPN did some great reporting on the matter.
“The three siblings are co-trustees of four trusts that own 66 percent of the Lakers. On March 2, Jeanie Buss had filed a lawsuit in probate court after her older brothers Johnny and Jim Buss appeared to stage a coup to oust her from the board of directors. The hearing to settle that lawsuit — scheduled for May 15 — has now been cancelled after Jim Buss agreed to step down as a trustee and signed documents to that effect last week, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.”
The Lakers still have a long way to go before being a great team again. Hopefully, with the power struggle out of the way between Jeanie and Jim Buss, the Lakers can go back to focusing on the future of the team and how to make them contenders again. The NBA just doesn’t seem quite as fun when the Lakers aren’t a part of the playoff picture.
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]