Do LA Lakers Have the Right Buss Calling the Shots?

If the Los Angeles Lakers get their way, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will take their talents to Hollywood as free agents during the 2014 NBA offseason.

If the James-Anthony plan ends up coming to fruition, it'll likely be in spite of Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of player operations.

Since taking over the Lakers from his late father, Dr. Jerry Buss, in 2011, the younger Buss has done little to inspire confidence in the franchise or its fans in his leadership ability.

In fact, his continuous series of missteps have the team poised to miss the playoffs in 2013-14 for only the third time since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

Before considering how the Lakers can get themselves out of this mess, let's fall down the rabbit hole to understand Jim Buss' growing influence over the franchise.


The Grooming

Dr. Buss began grooming his son to take over for him back in 1998, when Jim joined the Lakers as an assistant general manager to Jerry West.

Even back then, the plan was for Jim to eventually take control of the team's player personnel, according to Sports Illustrated, while his younger sister, Jeanie, would maintain the Lakers' business operations.

Soon after joining the franchise, Jim uttered these infamous lines to SI in November 1998:

Evaluating basketball talent is not too difficult. If you grabbed 10 fans out of a bar and asked them to rate prospects, their opinions would be pretty much identical to those of the pro scouts.

In his defense, Buss told ESPNLosAngeles in 2012 that SI "cut off" the context of that quote, for what it's worth.

Fast forward to the summer of 2004, when the Lakers were coming off a stunning upset loss to the Detroit Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals. Head coach Phil Jackson, who had nine NBA championships at that point in his coaching career, dec...

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