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Tuesday, February 21st, 2012 at 10:25 am  |  37 responses

Report: There’s Serious Dysfunction in the Lakers’ Front-Office


It’s clear that no one is happy in Laker-land these days – the team is underwhelming on the court, the coaches have come under fire, and all of the front-office’s moves have badly backfired. CBS Sports takes a fascinating look at the growing mess within the organization: “The Lakers’ front office is an uncommunicative, rudderless fiasco, and the unrest and paranoia that have been festering for years threaten to derail the team’s plans to ride [Kobe] Bryant to his sixth NBA title while they still can. And much of it can be traced to the growing influence of executive vice president Jim Buss, the owner’s bon vivant son, who has helped transform a great franchise into a steaming pool of nepotism and nincompoops. In the months leading up to the lockout, the Lakers got rid of assistant general manager Ronnie Lester and most of his scouts. Rudy Garciduenas, the equipment manager for nearly 30 years, was let go. Alex McKechie, a renowned sports science expert, was told to pack up and was quickly scooped up by the Raptors. International scout Adam Fillippi wound up with the Bobcats. The list goes on. Longtime associates of former coach Phil Jackson were let go as the Lakers tried to ‘wash off anything that had touched’ the decorated coach, a person with ties to the front office said. Brian Shaw, Bryant’s preference to succeed Jackson, was interviewed for the job but came away with the clear impression that any efforts to associate himself with Jackson would ‘hurt him, not help him,’ a coaching industry source said. None of these people, who formed what a longtime NBA executive called one of the best front office staffs in the league, was given the courtesy of knowing whether they would be brought back after the lockout ended. Some are still waiting for that phone call. Joey Buss, another son of the owner who runs the team’s D-League franchise, has moved into Jackson’s old office. Jesse Buss, 23, who was arrested for alcohol intoxication in Lexington, Ky., on a ‘scouting’ trip in December, has moved into Lester’s former office. Not that anyone supposedly doing scouting or other basketball work is seen much around the team’s facilities these days. Jim Buss, who supposedly is the team’s director of player personnel, is virtually unreachable — including by me. He didn’t respond to my request for comment through the team’s media relations department, and his direct number is not listed in the Lakers directory that is distributed to teams. Even people who work in the basketball operations department have ‘no clue who’s on the staff,’ said a person with direct knowledge of the organization’s structure. ‘It would be interesting to find out who’s doing the scouting,’ the person said. [Mitch] Kupchak tried to fight to keep his staff, and his efforts were appreciated by some and viewed as not enough by others. The GM is ‘on an island by himself,’ said another person familiar with the situation. ‘He doesn’t know who to trust anymore,’ said another.”

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  • Leonitu$

    Its always the kids born with a silver spoon in their rear that mess up their father’s hard earned empire!

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    sign arenas already, btw did anyone read his interview on SI, good read

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ….no, really??

  • http://slamonline.com The Black Rick Kamla

    ^^ spit, I’m gonna check it now actually

  • toinefan88

    We knew this after the Odom “trade” and attempted Gasol trade.

  • jsmoke212

    Kobe needs to bolt straight to the…..Mavs? pretty please? How nasty would that starting lineup be?

  • http://juan.garcia@computershare.com POW

    What a bunch of ignorant mf’s. Jim has been the one calling the shots since 2004. Yes he has many more chips to go to catch his father but he already has two. Also, if not for him we’d have J Kidd running the show with no Bynum. That would’ve been a laugher. Learn from the best kiddies. the Lakers always know what’s up.

  • Homie

    Ha-ha! (c) Nelson Muntz

  • http://nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    Did you uh, read the article, POW?
    Their three scouts are Ryan West, Jerry West’s son, Dr. Buss’ 23 year old DUI-convicted son and some mysterious dude named Chaz.
    They let almost their entire staff go after Phil Jackson left and replaced them with family members.
    They…f*ck it, why am I even gonna argue with a loony Lakers fan…

  • http://www.slamonline.com spit hot fiyah

    black rick, let me know what u think about it, he really opens up in that one about a lot of stuff

  • Hulahula

    Sounds paranoid

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Chaz is the 23-year-old Buss’ creepy uncle.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    ‘nincompoop, bon vivant and nepotism’, damn this article hits hard.
    In other news: nincompoop aka what is the term giving to a wife who files for divorce but gets pulled back in for million dollar trinkets.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Wait so what we’ve been saying for months is true? You don’t say?

  • RunNGun

    KOBE to the WOLVES… make it happen, DR. BUSS!

  • bull22

    @enigmatic, thats some good stuff (berger’s article) i said it from beginning of season this team was already in disarray and iam sure right now the bottom line is saving money and making a buck. to buss’s boys kobe is just some old man whining to them.

  • robb

    That’s what happens when your idiot son makes the big decisions. Get rid of this guy and put Jeanie Buss in charge. Hey Fredo Corleone, why don’t you jump on your boat and pray a hail mary???

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jim Buss is awesome. He blatantly doesn’t learn from his mistakes. Doesn’t even try. Rudy Tomjanovich is prolly at home laughing.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Wow, so much Laker news today… and not exactly shining in the best light…

  • http://Hoopshype.com/rumors Hossy

    Jim Buss is a spoiled little egomaniac and I would love to punch him in the face. No wonder Phil gave you no respect

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    If anyone did not know all of this, they are an idiot. Pretty obvious. I’m not worried though.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    SMH…How can you judge Jim Buss when he’s just getting started? This is really just the beginning of Jim Buss being the big decision maker for the Lakers. Phil Jackson is gone and Dr. Jerry Buss is slowly fading into the background, as his son Jim takes the Lakers into a new direction. Jim Buss wants the Lakers younger and built around Bynum. And he’s always got that amnesty in his back pocket ready to use it when he sees fit. I don’t see Kobe staying married to the Lakers.

  • http://slamonline house

    That Arena’s article by SI was dope, great read.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Orange, you should read the article. And realize this isn’t the first time Buss has taken over. Also, the Amnesty can only be used on players that were apart of the Lakers roster before September 1, 2011. Basically, he can only use it on, Metta World Piece, Luke Walton, or Derek Fisher. There are no other realistic options.

  • robb

    Jim can’t manage and Mike can’t coach, the players are by themselves, they gotta support each other more than ever.

  • Toner

    Is it because Phil’s boning Jim’s sister?

  • Heals

    @Leon, yup yup…

  • Yesse

    Well, all i have heard so far are just rumors and one trade gone bad.

    Action speaks louder than words and if they want to be a championship contender, they have to do something.

  • LP

    they used that lockout as an excuse to get rid of their staff, gotta be something illegal about that… a good lawyer would find it…

  • OTB

    I don’t have a problem with Jim Buss, aside from the fact that he clearly wanted to detach his legacy from that of Jackson’s. Brian Shaw was the man for the job, plain and simple. The players all had his support and he had been under Jackson’s wing since 2003. In fact, even as a player, he was more of a coach (according to Shaq Uncut).

    I hope the players can rally through this. I still cant believe they traded Odom away for nothing. I think Mitch is just a puppet in all this and its sad that most people are going to blame him for the mess.

  • bike

    In addition to the personal problems, the entire front office has been diagnosed with ED.

  • MikeC.

    It’s just nice to see the word “dysfunction” in a headline, and nowhere else in the headline does it say “New York Knicks”. I’m just so happy with that thought, that I’m going for a walk. Maybe I’ll skip with some bunnies or pet a unicorn.
    Also, it’s awesome that they Lakers have a mysterious man named “Chaz” working for them. I wonder if he’s a retired figure skater.

  • T-Money

    funny article. however, as someone pointed out, jim doesn’t get enough credit for passing on the kidd for bynum trade when nobody really believed in bynum.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Bad time for the Lakers to appear weak, the Clippers will start smelling blood soon

  • andy

    umm the kidd for bynum trade would not have been that bad.
    what was bynum doing last june? dunno was on holidays..
    what was kidd doing? running the show in dallas and winning a ring.

    bynums nice but i would never ever build my franchise around him.

  • http://anyoldthing Ugh

    “Joey Buss, another son of the owner who runs the team’s D-League franchise, has moved into Jackson’s old office.”
    Well, that’s as fascinating as it is damning.

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