Is Jim Buss the Los Angeles Lakers’ Biggest Problem?

On all counts of not being Dr. Jerry Buss, Jim Buss is unequivocally guilty.

As for everything else, well, is there anything else?

Blame is being freely dispersed amid one of the worst seasons in Los Angeles Lakers history. Head coach Mike D'Antoni is upbraided daily and the team's roster is a walking punchline, oft-criticized for fits of selfish, me-first, I'm-playing-for-my-next-contract basketball.

Perched above players and coaches on the culpability plinth is executive vice president of player personnel Jim Buss. More than anyone else, he's held responsible for turning his father's beloved organization into a dysfunctional snake pit.

None of what is happening now would have transpired under Los Angeles' erstwhile patriarch. Los Angeles wouldn't be wallowing near the bottom of the standings, contending for a top-five lottery pick if Dr. Buss were still alive. He wouldn't have allowed Phil Jackson to be whisked away by the New York Knicks. Things would be different if he were in charge or even involved.

This is all Jim Buss' fault.

Even Kobe Bryant, the injured 35-year-old slated to earn nearly $50 million over the next two seasons, has been quick to point fingers at Buss.

"You got to start with Jim," Bryant told reporters, via's Jeff Caplan. "You got to start with Jim and Jeanie [Buss] and how that relationship plays out. It starts there and having a clear direction and clear authority."

Although Jeanie—Jackson's fiancee and Jim's sister—crept her way into Bryant's hawkish rant, it started with Jim. He was mentioned first. He is the problem.

Unless he isn't.

Desperate times call for a number of things. Chief among them all is a scapegoat, someone to hold directly accountable for everything that's wrong. In Lakerland, where championship climates are common practice and the direction has been fleckless fo...

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