Jeanie Buss has a lot on her plate these days. The 52-year-old co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers is fielding questions from all sides regarding the future and direction of the Lakers, Kobe Bryant’s contract, and how she will now get along with her fiancee, Phil Jackson. The same Phil Jackson that won five championships with the Lakers and Buss, and who has now taken the role of President of the rival New York Knicks. It may make for interesting coffee talk for Jackson and Buss each morning!
On Tuesday, the New York Knicks introduced Phil Jackson as president.
Later that night, Jeanie Buss, the Lakers co-owner and executive, said the Lakers didn’t have a job for him.
“He was not offered any official position. There were a lot of Laker functions that Phil was with me, because he was there to support me in no official capacity. There is no role in the front office for him, for what he could contribute.”
Let there be no doubt that Jeanie Buss is the Lakers’ most powerful executive.
“Ultimately the buck stops with me. I’m president and governor of the team and I have empowered the basketball operations, the front office, to put together a basketball team, working within the confines of the collective-bargaining agreement.
The previous comment could be interpreted in a number of ways, as Jeanie has been the front person for the club in dealing with the fallout from the worst season the Lakers have put out in recent memory, Kobe has been out with injury after signing a big contract extension, and her boyfriend and unofficial Laker consultant (and ex-coach) has headed over to the Big apple and the Knicks.
Regarding Bryant, Buss does not regret signing Kobe to his latest contract extension; a two-year, $48.5-million deal. Kobe returned from a torn Achilles’ tendon, played six games, and sustained a fractured knee. He hasn’t played since, and is out for the season. However, Jeanie Buss wanted Kobe to retire a Laker, and have the opportunity to go on a farewell tour that Magic Johnson, the last great Laker, was not able to do. Buss points out:
“Kobe, by signing that deal, will have played 20 years for one organization. I guarantee that won’t happen again. To have the kind of longevity that he’s had makes it extremely special, and I think that Lakers fans understand that.”
Regarding her love life, Jeanie told the Los Angeles Times that she will have a bicoastal relationship. Buss has also discussed any possible conflicts of interest with the league that her relationship with Jackson may imply. Buss doesn’t anticipate any problems along that front, as she does not make the day-to-day basketball decisions for the Lakers. That is done by the general manager and her co-owner, brother Jim Buss. But Jeanie reiterated to the Times that her commitment to the Lakers has not wavered.
Do you think that there is any conflict of interest with Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson now that he has gone to New York? Laker fans (and Knicks fans, too), let us know your theories.
[Image via Puertatras]