Jeanie Buss Discusses Hiring Luke Walton, Front-Office Discord, More

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss stated she believes new head coach Luke Walton is the team's "best free-agent signing in a few years" as the organization puts him in charge of an overhauled roster it hopes can begin turning the corner after some forgettable seasons.

William Weinbaum and Steve Delsohn of passed along comments Friday from Buss as part of a deep dive into the franchise's recent struggles and its efforts to move back toward becoming a contender in the Western Conference. 

"I think that Luke Walton is somebody that will be with us for a long time. We're committed to seeing him be successful," Buss said. "I believe with the leadership we have in Luke Walton, that we will get back to the kind of standard that my dad set."

She added: "I don't even think he understands the natural charisma that he has. He has an ability to draw people to him at all different ages and backgrounds."

Walton inherits a roster that features a group of promising young players, led by Julius Randle (21), D'Angelo Russell (20) and Brandon Ingram (19), this year's second overall pick. The Lakers are still a couple of years, and some marquee additions, away from becoming a legitimate threat, though.

Los Angeles wasn't able to attract any of the top free agents in recent years as it attempted to make one final run before the Kobe Bryant era ended. Buss downplayed the notion that his monster contract to close out his career impacted the team's efforts.

"I don't think Kobe's contract caused any problems," she told ESPN. "They had [salary] cap space and the ability to approach free agents, who decided for whatever reasons that they didn't want to come to the Lakers."

Now Bryant is gone, and the Lakers will be expected to move swiftly to complete the rebuilding project as a fanbase used to winning championships gets a bit anxious.

Buss wasn't prepare...

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