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Thursday, August 15th, 2013 at 9:30 am  |  78 responses

Jim Buss Says Dwight Howard Was ‘Never Really a Laker’


by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

When Dr. Jerry Buss died in February, for better — and, often, for worse — the Los Angeles Lakers were handed over to his son, Jim.

The younger Buss controls the basketball side of things for the NBA’s most glamorous and successful franchise, while his sister handles the business aspects.

Jeanie Buss believes their father could have persuaded free agent superstar center Dwight Howard to stay in L.A., and acknowledges what a terrible blow to the Lakers’ brand and on-court play Howard’s departure to Houston was.

Jim, though, completely dismisses the big fella in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter:

Jim insists he’s just following his father’s blueprint, but the Howard situation suggests he missed a page. Instead of Jim spending time with Howard, the team launched a widely derided media campaign that implored “Stay” on billboards. After Howard bolted, Jim turned on his former star, saying he wasn’t surprised or dismayed. “He was never really a Laker,” says Jim. “He was just passing through.”

Those close to Howard say the Lakers could have persuaded him to stay. Even Jeanie believes that if her father had not been sick, he would have sealed the deal like so many before it. “It’s disappointing that Dwight isn’t here,” she says. “I feel like we failed him.”

The Los Angeles Lakers went to great lengths to keep Dwight Howard, but ultimately, they lacked Dr. Buss’ finishing touch. Of course, they will have a terrific chance to reload next summer with a star-studded free agent class, and must learn from their failures this time around.

Kobe Bryant says Jim and Jeanie are stepping into their father’s “huge and epic” shoes. So far, they have only managed to stumble.

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  • Ishmael Jenkins

    He’s not his father, that much is very clear. Which is why the Lakers won’t be the same franchise they’ve always been until he is no longer in control. Step aside and let Jeanie get them back to where they’re supposed to be.

  • spit hot fiyah

    Me: Jim Buss not really an (good) owner

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    If he was just “passing through”, why didn’t they trade him before the deadline instead of losing him and getting nothing in return? If he was never a Laker, isn’t that something you would pick up on within the time he was there and not after he has left?

    And no, Jeanie, you didn’t fail your father. If anyone did, it was your brother.

  • JibbsIsBallin

    I think it comes down to the fact that Howard just couldn’t deal with Kobe and there wasn’t enough space for two big egos in that team. Dr.Buss would’ve had a much better chance at keeping Howard and making it work, but at the end of the day, I think Howard is one of these players that doesn’t really want to carry all the weight on himself. Even in Orlando, he had the same issues. When they were struggling, he started to blame Van Gundy.

  • LLC#12

    Unbelievable how this time last year, many people were ready to proclaim the Lakers 2013 NBA Champs. I’m not gonna lie, I had them down as making the Western conference finals, at least.

    Anyway, I think the Lakers are harming their image to continue talking about Dwight. You can’t put up all those billboards begging him to stay and then act like there was no long term vision for him. I would have loved to have seen that that Laker team could have done at full strength, but I can certainly understand Dwights decision to leave.

  • shockexchange

    Hilarious how Laker nation is tryna to convince the public they are better off without the L’s best center. The more they talk about D12 the more they sound like one of his groupies.

  • http://www.netstakeover.com/ JetSkiJohnson

    Laker Fans and the media just can’t let this thing go…. Its crazy because Dwight never wanted to play for them .

  • Feez_22

    i was also one of those people that thought the lakers would be an instant success. lol. I bought into that hype and we saw how that turned out.

    The lakers continue to talk about dwight and will still talk about him next season since they play the rockets 3-4 times. I think the lakers brass is so shocked that a player of his stature left them that they really want to make it clear that he was to blame in this situation. I don’t think d12 was mainly to blame but the lakers sure want to pass that buck so they don’t seem like the unstable franchise. They have been successful in painting d12 as the guilty party in the eyes of a lot of laker fans and fans in general but basketball junkies which is most of us know better.

    In the summer of 2012, the lakers attained nash and then signed d12 as a piece to build the franchise around in the future. You don’t sign d12 and then offer him a max extension if he were just “passing by”. In fact, they would have offered that same extension before the season started if d12 wanted it. Jim buss is just like mike d’antoni in this situation… clueless.

  • Max

    Your daily Lakers crying about Dwight article.

  • RayJr

    Won’t this jackass just shut up. He’s already hurt the franchise enough. At least Jeanie gets it.

  • Sean Superstar Juan

    Regardless of all the “Dwight was never a true Laker” talk, the team won’t be relevant again for another 3 years. Kobe will “prove” his determination by coming back way too early and forcing up many 7-26 nights and Laker fans will scream that he has no help. No elite free agent will go there until KB retires. Of all the “great” players in the league’s history, he is the only of the supposed top 15 players who has NEVER shot 50% from the field for at least one season.

  • ChosenOne

    I gotta hand it to you Shock, you called this all along with the “Rent A Center” coinage. At the time, everybody (including myself) thought he was staying for the long run.

    Btw…

    Is this your son ballin’? Love the defense!
    http://youtu.be/mou064pG6nY

  • robb

    don’t try to understand what Jim Buss is saying. He’s an idiot and an idiot’s behaviour is almost impossible to understand.

  • robb

    Fredo Corleone’s as pathetic as he is stupid. First he begs on the streets for this moron to stay and then he starts all this ‘he was just passing through’ crap. He should at least have the decency to recognise things didn’t work out like he wanted, but that’s too much to ask.

  • bike

    Phil Jackson was the only coach that might have been able to manage that Laker-Kobe-Dwight dynamic. Even he eventually couldn’t control the Shaq/Kobe fallout. Ego management is a huge part of nba coaching and is one of the factors that separates the great coaches from all the rest.

  • RayJr

    1000000% agree.

  • shockexchange

    SE never thought Rent-A-Center would get along with Horry Jr, especially if LA started losing. If Rent-A-Center re-signed with LA and the losing continued, Horry Jr would’ve thrown him under the bus and management would have traded him. By going to Houston, Rent-A-Center went to a team of his liking rather than to some random team management selected later – smart move on his part.

    SE’s son is trying to walk on at at D-1 program this year. He got hurt is junior year which hurt his recruitment. He has a college-ready body as is.

  • Aaron

    Yes he’s the best but of a pretty lousy group of centers and just look how he affects the team off the court

  • shockexchange

    What’s the difference between the L.A. Lakers and a commode? A commode doesn’t (i) put or “stay” billboards and (ii) follow you around after you use it.

  • RayJr

    3 years? Come on now.

  • The Seed

    They should have traded him, before last deadline. That is where the Lakers messed up at.

  • robb

    That’s the only thing I can complain about Dr. Him not passing the torch trust to Jeanie and I think it was because she’s a woman, that’s the only reason I can think of, because she’s way more capable than Jimmy boy. Smarter, more charismatic, she was the one. Oh well, let’s see what happens.

  • Joshua Cain

    “The younger Buss controls the basketball side of things for the NBA’s most glamorous and successful franchise, while his sister handles the business aspects.”

    Most successful my assssssss.

    Get on Celtics level LA Fakers. Most successful usually means most championships in the sporting world. Guess not according to Marcel Mutoni lol

  • Toner83

    “LA says Jim Buss isn’t really a VP of Player Personnel for the Lakers – he just faking it until he makes it”

  • LakeShow

    Dwight was as much as Dennis Rodman was.

  • Max

    lol

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    May not be far off. Unless they get lucky and draft a superstar, I don’t see any big name free agent going there. Unless Jim Buss is no longer in charge. Telling players to just play and let him control everything with no input from anyone isn’t really that great of a pitch to superstar guys.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Lol I totally forgot about that. Or maybe I was trying to surpress it.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Agreed. This man’s thought process is out of whack.

  • LakeShow

    Just like Dwight…

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    This was me when I found out he was leaving us…

  • RayJr

    Pretty sure they mean value. The Lakers franchise is worth more than Celtics.

  • LakeShow

    He definitely wasn’t a good fit. With next years free agency and the Lakers salary… Good things are right around the corner.

  • LakeShow

    There is a good chance they win more games next season.

  • RayJr

    Players will go. LA will give stars a chance to play together like Miami did. It may not be Lebron or Melo like they are aiming for but it is possible and top free agents would go. Remember, it is still LA and not the Bucks or Bobcats for example.

  • RayJr

    I can’t either and it sucks to say that yeah mb that’s why she didn’t get the nod. Him passing over to Jim was possible the worst business decision he ever made.

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    I’m hoping. I like the dynamic of this team we will be bringing in next season. We finally have more than just one outside shooter. Only down side is D12 won’t be their to clean up the defensive breakdowns on the perimeter.

  • LakeShow

    You know what the Lakers cap space looks like after next season?
    Obviously not.

  • LakeShow

    Defense will be slightly worse. Offense will be much better.

  • shockexchange

    Apparently management agrees. Why else would they beg Howard to stay?

  • http://soundcloud.com/tray-8 T-Ray

    Agreed. Shall be interesting to see.

  • Alexzandar Davilijanovic

    No shiit

  • Evan Boland

    Most guards don’t.. AI is a legend and never shot over 50 percent.

  • LakeShow

    Because he is the top center in the game…
    Really I need to tell you these things? Gol damn….

  • Evan Boland

    The good chance they win more games isn’t because Howard left. If you didn’t know, there’s other way’s to improve. Which we did. And the major factor will be HEALTH.

  • robb

    D’Antoni coaching and no Dwight, they better play much better offense or we’re gonna get killed.

  • davidR

    jim buss = young king joffrey
    jerry buss = king richard

  • robb

    Defensively Howard’s gonna be missed without question. But the team’s chemistry will be definitely better,

  • LakeShow

    D’Antoni is a good coach with the right players.
    He now has them.

    Dwight did as much good as bad.

  • pposse

    im predicting right now that the Busses’ will have a reality show centered around operations with the LA Lakers within the next 3 years.

  • danpowers

    “… and his mother is fat”

  • MUBWAR

    so pitiful

  • LakeShow

    What is pitiful?…

  • shockexchange

    Please don’t tell SE anymore things Lake. His head is still spinning from your Horry Jr lovefest from last night.

  • LLC#12

    What players do you think are realistic targets for the Lakers next summer though?

  • shockexchange

    Yeah! The Shock Exchange really don’t need no Lola Falana. He’s much better off without her. Yeah … that’s it.

  • robb

    Yeah, I was talking only about the D. Please don’t get me started on how much I dislike Howard, I was trying to be objective and fair to him here lol.

  • LakeShow

    Almost all of them.

    Anyone who wants to start their new career with one of the greatest franchises in sports history.

    You can act all you want like the Lakers are done and over now that Senior Buss is gone, but the fact is the Lakers were a top franchise before he became the owner and will remain that way post.

    1. Top franchise
    2. LA is one of the most highly desired cities by athletes and entertainers.
    3. For many NBA talents, LA their home town. Or for others their off season home.

    Why would any player not want to be the “next great Laker”…?

  • LakeShow

    They will be bad on D, but honestly could still be better than last year if they buy into the new defensive system collectively.

    Last year was a one on one, mano y mano, sh*t show on defense.

  • LakeShow

    Probably. I mean she’s 70… Your 50-ish?… You’re better off man…

  • LakeShow

    I have never brought up Bob Horry’s son once…
    You’re the one with an infatuation.

  • Lakers Guru

    What you wet behind the ears when it comes to the Lakers is that Jim has been running things since the Shaq trade. He was resoonsible for the draft that summer and started riding shotgun next to Mitch till he learned the ropes. So far he has brought two more championships to LA. Not too bad if you ask a franchise like the Suns for example who are considered a good franchise. Give the man a chanse. He’s shown to be patient and shrewed in making deals. Held on to Bynum long enough to win with him and traded him for Dh. Not bad. The reason for the posters was really to make the fanbase think they were trying to keep the best center in todays league. Kobe knew he was not willing to fill the role needed to win it all. He then had a sit down of the minds with Kupcake and Jim and you know the rest. The real culprit was the nixed CP trade. That there would have made the DH move a solid one as Howard would trust the ball in his hands rather the old man Nash or shoot first Mamba. I love him but lets keep it real.

  • LLC#12

    Oh I certainly don’t think the Lakers are over, I was just wondering if there was any particular players you thought about. The chance to form a “super-team” in a city like LA will be irresistible to a lot of players. I think the issue of “whose team is it?” will be the only negative factor. In a league of ego’s, some guys might feel like they’d be in Kobe’s shadow, and it’d still be his team, when they could just as easily go somewhere else and be “the man”. Do you think Kobe should/would pitch the Lakers as having the reigns there for the taking?

  • LakeShow

    Sorry, figured you were one of the new “Lakers will never be good again” people.

    (Without restricting it to this next years FA.)

    I think Paul George, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love are just a few players that may want to come to the Lakers via FA or trade.

    I think most of those players love Bean and would love playing with him. (assuming he does his best to accommodate them) ((I do feel he did enough to accommodate Dwight btw))

    Most of these guys know and are okay with KB being the alpha till he retires. (year or 3 at most) Then they know it’s their city, their franchise, and that is enticing i’m sure.

    ‘New King of LA’… Sounds good to me. I think to most it does to most of them too.

  • robb

    sure Jimmy

  • LLC#12

    Haha, even if I wanted to be one of those guys, I think that bandwagon is already full these days! It’s actually reasonable to think the Lakers might have a better record this year than last I think, and with the cap situation next summer, well, things could be a lot worse!

    I’d love to see them get George and Gasol, and then re-up Pau at a reduced rate. Marc, Pau, Paul, Kobe & whoever at PG (I know they’ll still have Nash, but I doubt he’ll start) would be really balanced offensively and fairly solid defensively. One of the reasons I love watching Spain play is the dynamism and understanding of Pau/Marc, to see that for 82 games a year would be great. Throw in the versatility of George, and Kobe wouldn’t need to average much more than the high teens really. I don’t think Melo & Kobe would work too well, though.

  • LakeShow

    Your right that Melo and Kobe wouldn’t be peanut butter and jelly, but I do think with Melo’s penchant for the low block bullying and Kobe’s mid range extended preference that they would balance the floor well. But Melo just might be a little too much of a black hole. You’re right there.

    The rest of what you said…. May the heavens part and make that true.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The correct word is pityble.

  • Daryl Morey
  • iceman

    Yep, Its just like the hot chick who finally gets turned down and doesn’t know how to deal with the shell shock, so she just cant let it go.

  • iceman

    lol watch the lakers land andrew wiggins in next years draft lol

  • pposse

    highly doubt its just that…i mean its his daughter after all. Not trying to delve too much into it, but Jeanie’s relationship with Phil Jackson threatens the idea of whom this historic franchise really belongs too. Obviously Jeanie (and Phil) can probably run the team better, but still blood is thicker than water

  • Ishmael Jenkins

    Play for D’Antoni? Nah. If Phil is coaching, yes. But they’re not flocking to LA to play for D’Antoni.

  • Yep

    Evan, that’s a great point. I do agree with you that Health will be a major factor; however, the Lakers basically lost the best center in the league because they did not try to build around him for whatever reasons. Was it b/c D’antoni offense? Was it because if the Lakers won and Dwight got Finals MVP, that would be a huge hit to Kobe’s legacy and prove/expose certain facts? Gasol couldn’t co-exist with Dwight?…these are speculation.

    From a basketball perspective, you should always pick a dominant big to start your team around unless a player is proven to help his teammates and is proven to be an all-around elite player like LeBron, Jordan, Magic, or Bird (only four names come to mind) but I would still pick a player like Shaq over Magic and Bird. Maybe not over LeBron or Jordan. You should pick a dominant big because the scoring is more efficient and other players will get better looks.

  • http://triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Really…..? Dwight Howard was not going to stay in LA if Kobe was still around the LAL camp. THAT is the truth.

  • The Seed

    Howard is gone, and Lakers will move on. As a Laker fan, he choose the team, where he thinks he will lead. Harden is the leader and the offense will be so similar to the Lakers its funny. Houston will do nothing and Howard will go down as an underachiever. People that keep bringing up Howard leading Orlando as he can play big time is sad, because Iverson did the same thing with a much much much worst team. So lets focus on now and Howard will be considered a waste if he does not get to his potential. He should stop being funny and work hard on his game,espcially on offense. Right now, Howard career is on the path of a low budget Moses Malone, that might be a stretch. Howard career is on the path of Willis Reed/Elden Campbell.

  • TBRK

    neither was Jim Buss

  • RayJr

    D’Antoni leaving is the key.

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