Lakers Executives Jim and Jeanie Buss Reportedly Stopped Speaking

Forget on-the-court dysfunction. According to the OC Register, there’s even more drama for the Los Angeles Lakers in the front office. Team owner Jerry Buss’ children, Jim and Jeanie, are no longer on speaking terms, which has major implications for the future of the franchise. This all stems from the disastrous hiring of Mike D’Antoni over Phil Jackson: “As much as Lakers fans wish it could be true, Jerry Buss isn’t going to live forever. He has been hospitalized in the recent past, hasn’t attended a Lakers game in 1½ seasons, and for the only time since he bought the team in 1979 didn’t bring his proud smile to the Lakers’ group team photo last April. Buss, whose 79th birthday is Sunday, has been the greatest owner in sports history, and the prospect of losing leadership that great is daunting for any organization in any field. In Buss’ case, the plan is to hand the Lakers down to his six children – already having daughter Jeanie in place to run the business side and son Jim the basketball side. Well … Jeanie and Jim aren’t speaking to each other. They haven’t since Mike Brown was fired as Lakers coach in early November and the Lakers went through that unseemly, confusing, hurtful dance with Phil Jackson – the love of Jeanie’s life and now her fiancé – before hiring Mike D’Antoni. Whenever the sad day comes when the team has to be handed down to the Buss children, things promise to get even uglier. […] In the same way, it’s possible the Buss children can come together as a family after their father is gone and work together for years, decades or lifetimes in the way that the patriarch hoped. Jim and Jeanie have gotten along OK at times in the past. It’s just looking extremely unlikely, which is why there are already rumblings about very rich men gearing up to bid and outside investors putting together ownership groups with the idea that the discord within the family will lead the children to sell what Jerry Buss holds: 66 percent ownership of the Lakers.”