Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Clippers

Darius Soriano —  April 6, 2014

The season has pretty much come full circle as the Lakers play the Clippers for the last time this season. On opening night — that seems like so, so long ago doesn’t it? — the Lakers upset the Clips in one of high points of the year. What followed was about 20 games of relatively inspired play by an upstart Lakers’ group.

Ultimately, though, those moments didn’t last and what has transpired is one of the worst seasons in franchise history. Meanwhile, the Clippers have had one of their best seasons in franchise history, charging hard for and reaching the 3rd seed in an ultra-competitive West. They will look to make a lot of noise in the playoffs and try to do what another Doc Rivers coached team did by grinding its way through the post-season in search of the ultimate prize.

Things couldn’t be more different between these two teams and, not just because of the time that’s passed, today’s game couldn’t feel any further removed from that upset in late October.

Today’s game matters mostly because of how it can impact the standings. As noted above, the Clippers are currently sitting in the 3rd seed, 3 games up on the Rockets. It is unlikely Houston — who has been playing without Dwight Howard lately — catches the Clippers, so falling down the standings doesn’t seem likely. However, the Clippers are only 2 games behind the Thunder for the 2nd seed in the conference and with a nice push to close the season and any sort of stumble from the Thunder, the Clips could find themselves moving up. To close the season, then, the Clippers will play as hard as they can to maximize their seeding and to try to fine tune their game heading into the playoffs.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Lakers are also looking at the standings and are seeing how their current string of losses (3 straight) have kept them in the 6th spot. Right above them are the Jazz who they face in the 2nd to last game of the season. If the Lakers lose out — which is quite possible considering their strength of opponents (minus the Jazz) — they may be able to get all the way to the 4th worst record in the league and hurdle both the Jazz and the Celtics in the process. That’s looking way ahead, of course, but down the stretch there really isn’t much to look forward too save for a nice performance from one of the individual players.

With the implications of this game set, I think it is safe to say that the outcome may be as well.

The Lakers will play without Pau, Xavier Henry (who has been ruled out for the year), and Steve Nash. Chris Kaman is questionable with his calf strain and Jordan Hill came out of Friday’s game gimpy with a sore ankle (as did Nick Young). In other words, the same old story for a team who just needs the season to end. The Clippers, on the other hand, are starting to get their players back even if they are still a bit banged up too. Jamal Crawford and Danny Granger are likely out of this game, but J.J. Redick is back in the lineup as a needed shooter to space the floor. Blake Griffin is also likely to play even though he’s been suffering from back spasms and turned an ankle in their loss to the Mavs on Thursday.

Forget the injuries, though, the Clippers are simply the better team. They have more talent and are coached in a manner that seeks to optimize that talent on both sides of the ball.

As the Lakers’ season mercifully comes to a close in a week, the Clippers’ will just be beginning. As noted at the top, things really have come full circle.

Where you can watch: 12:30pm start time on ABC. Also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Darius Soriano

Posts

72 responses to Preview and Chat: Lakers vs. Clippers

  1. Warren Wee Lim April 6, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Should it be 2 for 2 on 1st posts? I hope so, I hope so.

    Realistically, the Lakers need to play Nash so that he takes over #3 all time in the assist leaders. Its but right.

  2. It used to be that the difference between the Lakers and the Clippers organizations was that Donald was all about Donald and Jerry Buss was all about the Lakers. When Jerry saw opportunities to make the Lakers better, he aggressively pursued them. Like when he signed Magic to what seemed like a ridiculous contract. Donald was always about being cheap and making everything be about him.

    You could always count on players leaving the Clippers for greener pastures and organizations that actually cared about the product on the floor. It is not clear what happened in the last couple of years but the old Donald seems to have been kidnapped and some sort of alien has taken control of his body. He actually allowed a trade that brought in an expensive player and made his team better. He brought in one of the best NBA coaches at an appropriate salary and suddenly the Clippers are playing solid, smart, team ball. There is a chance that players might actually want to come and play for the Clippers.

    The challenge is out there for Team Buss to figure out how to put their franchise in the win column again.

  3. How different would today’s game be if The Veto hasn’t happened?

    We’d prob still have Dwight if CP were here too.

    Dantoni would probably be in the running for Coach of the Year.

  4. With Darius running down the Lakers’ injury list again, I will note again that Tom Haberstroh at ESPN Insider wrote a piece earlier this week about a company called Catapult Sports, which specializes in injury prevention analysis. 10 NBA teams, including Dallas and San Antonio, who have kept their old guys pretty healthy, use the service, and a key guy for them is Alex McKechnie, a former Lakers trainer–whom Jim Buss let go in 2011.

    McKechnie got five rings with the Lakers and has gotten props from Phil and Shaq. McKechnie joined Toronto after getting cut loose here and Toronto has had a great health record since he got there.

    Two caveats:

    1. Correlation is not causation.
    2. Like most ESPN/TH guys, Haberstroh doesn’t like the Lakers, and he framed the facts to make the Lakers look very bad.

    But, they are still facts, so I think it is fair to say that while luck has been involved, there may be connections between management and the Lakers’ endless injury problems.

  5. The Ckippers got CP giftwraped to them and they been fortunate not so much in the playoffs. They jeep getting all these players, (granger,hedo, ect) but sooner or later the chickens ate coming home to roost. They would never sustain this level for even a fraction of the time the Lakers have. Btw by how many points we lose today? I say 38 lol

  6. Im looking forward to the playoffs, even if the Lakers wont be in it. I just cant root for the Clippers, though. I understand fans of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, but question anyone who claims to be a fan of the team, and would stick with them through their next lean stretch.

    Looking ahead to the draft for the Lakers, if picking 6th, it appears the pick will be between Marcus Smart and Noah Vonleh. I’d rather see Smart’s intensity than Vonleh’s length, but do you think the Lakers would draft a PG when Nash and Marshall are two of the only players they have signed for next year? I fear Vonleh’s a tall wing player who avoids contact, rather than a big man as people want to look at him as.

    If we sneak into the 5th spot, we take whoever is left from the Embiid-Wiggins-Randal-Parker-Exum group.

  7. The Lakers have gotten some pretty sweet deals in the past, so I’m not going to knock the Clippers for their good fortune. If they can turn it into big things… right now their future looks bright. They’re making moves in the right direction. Whatever they do, I’m a Laker fan.

    I’m not sure there will ever again be dominant franchises or dynasties in the NBA like the Lakers have been for so many years, or what the Celtics were. Too many have resources to succeed. The past may not mean nearly as much as we Laker fans would like to believe. Right now the Clippers are high, and the Lakers have a mountain to climb.

  8. Bryan, the Lakers, couldn’t handle the intensity of Smart. The only players that have that intensity are the old guys no one wants on the team. Further, injuries have depleted their ability play.

    Please, please, please, no more veto talk. Why talk about things that were not in the Lakers control? Now Dwight, this coach, the offense/defense, and the future are worth discussing.

  9. The Veto is going to be around as a topic for a long, long time, since its impact on the Lakers, the Clippers, and the NBA in general, seems to grow, rather than decrease, with the passage of time.

    People would talk about it much less if Nash and Howard had helped Pau and Kobe take the Lakers to the conference final or Finals and if Howard had stayed. Given the reality, it will continue to be brought up.

  10. per Dave McMenamin
    X-Rays were negative on Bazemore. He’s out for the game, however, and will have a MRI tomorrow on his sprained R foot.

  11. Again by far the 2 worst players on this team.

    Marshall again more TOs then points.

    Sacre no baskets.

    The good news is they are both suppose to be back next year. Can hardly wait.

  12. Ko you crazy, i know u have it out for Marshall but dont you dare criticize Mr “have it all” Sacre, im just waitning for his 30 points 20 rebounds and 5 block outburst, its coming, since he ” have it all”

  13. This coach gets fascinated by marginal players that praise him for playing them, let’s not forget Shawne Williams.

    rr-the veto set an NBA precedent and will likely never take place again. However, to me, the Lakers have bigger fish to fry in this upcoming season.

  14. Hearn

    Go back and look at MD playing career. Marginal player, slow foot speed, only relevant overseas.

    No wonder he favors the Marshall/ Sacre ‘s of the world.

  15. The “veto” is a subject for the victim mentality. It’s over and done, and nobody cares except some Laker fans who can’t move on. Hopefully, Laker management has moved on, knowing they can’t always get what they want. I’m sure they’re focused on turning their mess around.

  16. rfen: with you on the hand wringing. It is going to be a difficult and long rebuild, I’m hoping to enjoy the journey. I love the game and the Lakers enough to weather the down time.

  17. Almost totally agree, 99%,…
    The V-word is something I never think about – Except it crossed my mind today just cuz we were facing CP.
    And furthermore yes we do have our lottery pick to think about.
    Just like the Clips used to have every year.
    But I agree for now, the Clips deserve their day in the sun.

    Haha Fern yes let’s be thankful we have solid players like Sacre to lead us into the next stage of Laker prosperity.

  18. Don’t recall where the term “carry the water” came from but it’s baiting and I’m deleting those comments.

  19. J C: With regard to the VETO: If it had not occurred, most likely, MD would not exist. Mike Brown might still be our coach and if not him it would probably be Phil. MD would have most likely never entered the picture.
    rfen: I agree – let’s move on. It is a trade that did not happen. It is like a shot that went in an out or a close game lost on a bad call. It can’t be used by FO supporters as it is something that did not occur. For example if Robert Horry’s shot had gone down in 2003 in Game 5 against the Spurs, I am convinced that Shaq and Kobe would have wound up with abut 7 rings together. That shot did not go down and the VETO trade did not occur.
    C Hearn: Let’s try to keep the Donovan thing going. Perhaps if I post it 1,000 times like I did the desire to get Dwight Howard, Jim will finally do it (just kidding everyone – I think my DH posts were more like in the 300 range)
    rr: “Alex McKechnie, a former Lakers trainer–whom Jim Buss let go in 2011. ” Why do the trainers and the scouts report directly to Jim Buss? Does he supervise the custodians as well? : )

  20. Wait. So Jim Buss fired everyone? When Jerry was still alive & the owner? Even Ronnie Lester mentioned all the Buss children as “making more decisions” and explicitly mentioned both Jerry & Jim as key decision makers on whether or not he would return (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/22/sports/la-sp-lakers-layoffs-20110723):

    “Lester said Jim Buss, the vice president of player personnel and son of owner Jerry Buss, and his siblings are making more decisions and have increased roles.

    Lester said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak wants him to return, but there is resistance inside the organization.

    “Mitch wants to bring me back, but he can’t get the Busses [Jerry and Jim] to agree to bring me back,” Lester said.”

    If this is true about Lester, why would it be any different for any other employee? And if it was salary related, is that not Jeannie’s area of the “business”?

  21. All I know is that most of the pundits knew all too well that after Dr. Buss passed away the `transition´ period would be a rough one, putting it mildly – taking into account the bad luck we´ve had since, those writers called it right.
    & I guess most of us here (me included) were wishful thinking for a long time –
    As Darius noted, the team (& us fans) just need this danged season to come to a close.

  22. Darius: With regard to Jeanie: If we believe that she is The Boss, then she could have had some influence over this. I do not think she is The Boss, because if she was she could fire Jim if she wanted and I do not think she has that power. She has little power in the basketball area (IMO) and that includes the scouts and Lester. With regard to Jerry and Jim: There are many opinions as to who hired Mike Brown, who hired MD, who did not want Phil, and who fired the office personnel inclusive of Lester. These decisions could have been 100% Jim, 100% Jerry, or 50/50. I know it is all on Jim for sure starting 1/2 way through the 2013 season, so the last 2 years are his and IMO it is the last three. To add a little humor: “So Jim Buss fired everyone?” No – DH fired us. It is an occurrence that might happen a few times this off season as well :

  23. Don’t recall where the term “carry the water” came from but it’s baiting and I’m deleting those comments

    OK. But is is no more baiting IMO than “victim mentality.” Given that the Lakers were playing the Clippers, and your whole preview revolved around the facts that the Clippers are rolling and the Lakers are at (what we hope is) an absolute nadir, I didn’t see any reason for people to bag on a guy for musing briefly about what-might-have-been and referencing the Veto. Yes, it happened in the past, but it is still obviously affecting the present and will affect the future.

    As to the when-Jim-Buss-actually-took-over-thing, that is old ground, although not as well-trod here as at other places. Shelburne had him officially taking over after Phil left, way back in 2011, although she said that the Old Man would still make the final calls on big things. Shaw said that Jerry told him (Shaw) that the Brown hire was Jim’s call, and OTOH of course, people who defend Jim have put the D’Antoni hire on Dr. Buss. It is all pretty murky IMO.

    But change “Jim Buss” to “Lakers management” if you like. The facts about Alex McKechnie are still what they are, and they do not make whoever made that decision look very good.

  24. JC,

    Since the Lakers were playing the Clippers, and given where both franchises are, I can see why you brought it up, and it was actually on-topic, not hand-wringing or whatever other term folks want to use.

  25. Robert,
    So, what you’re saying is that despite her saying, on the record, that the “buck stops with her” while essentially saying that Jim reports to her and then saying she trusts him & Mitch to make the basketball decisions, your retort is “in my opinion, she doesn’t have that power”. Okay, then.

    I know that most things in life are essentially how much you choose to believe of what someone else says/writes/etc, but ultimately if personal belief is going to go against what people say on the record then I no longer know what the point of engaging on the topic actually is.

  26. OK

    Probably could have just stopped there and been just as well off. You are correct nothing changes these people being laid off/not retained. I never said as much. But throwing around blame without complete facts to back it up is just part of the narrative machine at work.

    I don’t quote Lester to prove a point & blame Dr. Buss, either. I only do so to show that there are reports that implicate multiple people. Just like reports about hiring D’Antoni or who wanted to pass over Phil have done. Much easier to say we don’t know & explicitly state that “this is my opinion” so that it’s understood we’re not talking about facts. Or link to the report that explicitly says what you’re citing & like others do we can just choose to not believe it anyway.

  27. By the way, here is that full Jeannie Buss quote:

    “Ultimately the buck stops with me,” she said in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet. “I’m president and governor of the team and I have empowered the basketball operations, the front office, to put together a basketball team, working within the confines of the collective-bargaining agreement.”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2014/mar/19/sports/la-sp-lakers-fyi-20140320

    She explicitly states that “she has empowered the basketball operations, the front office”. Sounds like the person with full oversight to me. Also, Jim’s title is Vice President of basketball operations. But, you know, maybe your opinion varies.

  28. I think an interesting story has been developing over the last few weeks that has been almost neglected by fans and media alike–the play, late in the season, of Jordan Hill. In the last nine games, these have been Hill’s numbers (pts., rebounds, and blocks):

    Clippers — 22 pts., 9 rebounds, 0 blocks
    Dallas — 14 pts., 10 rebounds, 2 blocks
    Sacramento — 18 pts., 15 rebounds, 4 blocks
    Phoenix — 6 pts., 3 rebounds, 1 block
    Minnesota — 10 pts., 7 rebounds, 0 blocks
    Milwaukee — 28 pts., 16 rebounds, 0 blocks
    New York — 9 pts., 5 rebounds, 4 blocks
    Orlando — 28 pts., 13 rebounds, 1 block
    Washington — 9 pts., 14 rebounds, 4 blocks

    According to my calculations, that results in averages of 16.8 pts., 10.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Bear in mind that two of Hill’s stronger performances came against excellent teams headed toward the playoffs — the Clippers and Dallas. And one performance — his 18, 15, and 4 game — was against a formidable big man in DeMarcus Cousins. He’s had 4 double-doubles in those 9 games, has scored in double figures 6 times (twice he’s scored 9 pts.), has had double figures in rebounds 5 of those games, and has had 4 blocks in 3 games. And, to a degree, he’s been playing out of position — the 5 rather than the 4/5 which is his usual assignment.

    I mention this not only to give credit where credit is due (I am not over-rating Hill; he is not the 2nd coming of Karl Malone; he remains a role player but a very valuable role player) but to draw attention to the coaching decision at the end of the season that could be impacted by Hill’s recent performance.

    If D’Antoni remains, as we all know, Hill is gone. History. Outta here. Same with Pau. And Kamen, I believe, has had such a nightmarish season that he would never consider returning to the Lakers under any circumstances. (Who could blame him?)

    So…if D’Antoni stays, we lose all 3 bigs. Imperfect players? Yes. But, nevertheless, skilled, talented, capable, complementary bigs. Furthermore, if MDA stays on at coach, what big man worthy of the name would want to come to the Lakers?

    Hill’s performance over the last 9-10 games re-focuses that discussion. Has the Front Office noticed Hill’s performance of late? (How could it not?) Do they want to bring him back? Do they want to bring Pau back? If the Lakers draft Joel Embiid or Julius Randal or Jabari Parker or Aaron Gordon, are they going to trust Mike D’Antoni with that player’s development?

    Who other than Robert Sacre would want to play center for Mike D’Antoni next year? The question can not be lost on the FO. And Jordan Hill’s performance of late simply intensifies that issue.

  29. Probably could have just stopped there and been just as well off.

    ___

    I don’t know for sure that Jim Buss made the call to clean out the training staff; that is true. But a lot of what has been said points to the idea that all the changes coincided with Jim’s taking on a larger role. Shelburne is supposedly very well-sourced, and her May 2011 piece on the subject indicated that in her opinion, that there was a sea change coming in how the Lakers do business. Here is the money quote:

    “His whims, his voice, will be the single most important force in the way the Lakers move out of this failed season.

    It will be Jim Buss who decides whether the team should be restored or reinvented. Whether it needs a fresh start or a new blueprint. Whether the Jackson era should be scrubbed clean off the walls or reupholstered by longtime assistant coach Brian Shaw.

    Kupchak will advise and consent. Jerry Buss will make the final call, as always. But it’s become clear in recent years that Jim Buss is engineering this train now.”

    You can focus on the “final call” line if you like, but there is a bigger picture at work IMO.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/columns/story?id=6548070

    And, I did make this statement in that post:

    “It is all pretty murky IMO.”

    So I agree there, but I would also suggest that there is another, probably smaller, “narrative machine” that involves some people (not you necessarily) in the Lakers blogosphere trying to deflect as much responsibility away from Jim Buss for the team’s current position as they can.

    But as you yourself said after Phil went to NY, that time is over, if it wasn’t already. This is Jim Buss’ show now.

  30. Anyone who thinks Jeane is running this show is not paying attention. Word is she has been to very few games this year. Word is she seldom talks to Jim. Phil said he went 6 months without talking to Jim. It’s called dysfunctional and no way Jeane has any say with the hiring, firing or personel.

    Either a basketball person is brought in or we can expect a team full of D leaguers and one year contracts for a long time.

  31. Darius: I understand what Jeanie said. When listing owners of the Lakers, most people would say Jim Buss. Some would say Jim and Jeanie Buss. Others would say Buss Family. I have never seen Jeanie Buss listed as the “owner” alone. And why would Jim be added (as was the case in the ESPN survey)? Why wouldn’t the other brothers be also listed? I think if a survey were taken as to whether Jeanie could fire Jim, – most people from that ESPN survey would say “No” (IMO) . So I do not think my opinion is as outlandish as you imply
    rr “This is Jim Buss’ show now.” Indeed, but obviously the question is when did this start. 2013 + 2014 are obviously Jim’s and you and I also feel that 2012 is his. For others – Jim has been a red shirt freshmen for three years.

  32. Robert
    Buss trust Owns 66% there for trust is the majority owner.

  33. Robert,
    Others not acknowledging an on the record statement doesn’t really mean much to me. It doesn’t matter if they’re ESPN reporters, from the LA Times or work for some other outlet. The statements are right there, printed verbatim. She said them. What people choose to acknowledge or ignore is on them, but that doesn’t mean it never occurred.

  34. Jeanie is a figurehead in my opinion, she represent the team on the NBA Board and marketing and that business side, Jim runs the team and makesthe basketball decisions which is were the real power lies . And if Jeanie would want to fire Jim i bet she need the mayority vote of the other siblings, hell i doubt she can fire Mitch. The mayor decicions of this organization have been taken by Jim since the good doctor left. For good or ill.

  35. Robert,

    I just emailed about that and other stuff. Basically, in a sense, IMO it doesn’t really matter anymore, except as a talking point. Either the FO gets the team moving strongly in the right direction over the next 12-24 months, or the flack being directed Jim’s way gets far worse, and we will either know if Jeanie is really the boss or there will be no need to find out.

    Dr. Buss has passed; Phil is across the country running another team. Jeanie has gone on the radio and said that Jim and Mitch run basketball and that she trusts their “vision.” The fan base is pinning a lot of hope on the draft pick, the cap space, and the 2015 FA class–and Kobe will be paid next season under the extension that he signed after Dr. Buss’ death. What happens with D’Antoni and who follows him and when will be decided by Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak. IOW, it is soon going to be Showtime, so to speak, for the Jim Buss-led FO.

  36. If he had such power she would had ” empowered” PJ with a position in the organization as a consultant, advisor, whatever she wanted and kept him within the organization when the move to NY became inminent and there was a massive uproar from legends, players to us fans to prevent that. I doubt she have the power to make even that call. At the end of the day i dont know but its what it looks to me.

  37. Rr
    Thanks.

    MidWilshire
    Good point about J Hill
    He’s been solid all year.
    And yeah not only will we lose all 3 bigs w this coach, a point I raised awhile back, yes we also risk losing future bigs who wouldn’t wanna play for this coach.
    Dwight is another casualty, probably for other reasons as well and albeit in the past (yeah I know) but this is a trend that if FO doesn’t correct it’s like Ko says – this ain’t gonna change for awhile.
    IMO a coaching change is sorely needed.

  38. Warren Wee Lim April 7, 2014 at 4:23 am

    Lets establish some facts here to break the impasse.

    Question:
    How do you determine ownership?
    Who calls the shots?
    Who “owns” the titles?
    Who has the official capacity?

    I don’t defend the front office here but neither do I do “blame everything on Jim” game. Lets just make it short and sweet, and rather simple.

    Jeannie is team president and governor. No one can fire her.
    Jim is VP for basketball operations.
    Mitch is General Manager.

    Those that hate Jim insinuate that these are just titles and that “Jeannie cannot fire Jim” … whats your point? Jeannie IS Boss. Because simply no one in the organization can fire her. Maybe most of you do not know about family-ran corporations, but I sort of do coz I’m in it.

    Basically, things get decided by what my father decides on. Ultimately, its his call. Most of the times, he “lets” people decide for the family, like my mother, like my elder brother… and like me. So in case you’re a bit murky on how to interpret that, whats so complicated (legally) is really simple: The one who can’t be fired is the boss.

    And thats Jeannie. And she said so herself. So I don’t know why anyone would still insinuate that she isn’t or that it means another thing. Sheesh.

  39. Warren Wee Lim April 7, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Darius, instead of focusing at issues at hand and things worthy of debate and discussion, certain people like the attention it brings themselves when they contradict facts. Its the ultimate conspiracy theory.

    When one person says something, its an opinion. When two or three are there to witness it, and happen to agree, it becomes consensus. What it has anything to do with real facts? Nothing.

    When the person herself (Jeannie in this case) tells you she is president and governor of the Lakers, and that is on record on the organization a d papers, it doesn’t have to be verified, or interpreted in any other way: Its FACT.

    When a thousand people agree on something, its called collective opinion. When one tries to contradict that, feel free. If you feel like the thousand are wrong and you are the only one correct despite the FACTS supporting the thousand, you are simply insane.

  40. Fern,
    No, that’s what *you* would have done. Or at least what you say you would have. When faced with firing/demoting your brother while going against the wishes of your recently passed father, maybe the picture isn’t so black and white anymore. But hey, you’re not alone. Forget what she actually says, your opinion on the internal workings of the team based off what you would in Jeannie’s shoes should totally be taken seriously.

  41. @Warren
    Man..you’ve been writing some fairly contentious stuff lately. Here’s a newsflash. This is the worst season in Lakers history. Heck. One might say the worst 2 season stretch in Lakers history, even though we made the playoffs last year. The team is in disarray and it doesn’t appear like anyone really knows what direction they want to go. Anyway, there’s nothing better to talk about when your team is this bad and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better in the next few years.

    Facts eh? So, when Kobe says that he doesn’t play for records it’s fact? When a reporter asks him if he knows that he’s nearing such and such milestone and he says no…it’s fact? Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true.

    I really don’t know if all power, in the Lakers organization, begins and ends with Jeannie Buss, but I would have to suspect no. If it did, then I would assume that PJ wouldn’t be in NYC. I would claim that Jeannie took full responsibility for the team because everyone was beginning to panic and place all blame on Jim. By claiming that they’re working in harmony, and that everything is going as planned, she was able to project a semblance of calm out to the franchise and fan base. Gotta keep those season ticket holders buying more season tickets…

    Is this catastrophe all Jim’s fault? No, of course not. Bad luck comes into play and sometimes even the best poker players go through some awful cold streaks. Is this all MDA’s fault? No, of course not. He took a team that’s been ravaged by injuries and tried to take a look at the young talent. I think he was successful in getting a picture of what we might have with the young guys. That didn’t always translate into victories, but I don’t think he left more than 10 wins on the table by using his batty rotations.

    I don’t have a problem with MDA for the win/loss record this year. I think that he’s done the best that HE could do with this team. I do have a problem with how he treats his best players and how they view him as a coach. Kobe doesn’t seem to care for his offense. Pau, who’s never had issues with a coach like this, has repeatedly spoken out against MDA. Kaman and Hill have both had disparaging things to say about MDA.

    I don’t think you can consistently win in the playoffs without coaching defense. Let me rephrase that. I don’t think that you can consistently win in the playoffs without PREACHING defense. For all of the gains that some of the younger players have made offensively, while playing under MDA, I don’t think they’ve learned much defense.

  42. Clearly there are some here that do not understand what a trust is.

    “Jeannie is President and can not be fired”

    Really?

    The trust has the right and ability to fire anyone. Unless stipulated due to certain illegal activities, they can not take her percent of ownership in the trust. The Buss Trust, made up of 5 Buss kids owns. 66% not the individual members. Three others own 24% of the team. The trust with the vote of the other 24% can fire anyone and as happens with many corp the President or CEO can be fired for many reason stipulated in their employment contract.

    We all can have differing opinions on “who makes Basketball decisions” but to make statements about who can or cannot be fired in a trust is silly.

    I write employment contracts every month and there are many conditions including performance , illegal activities, morals clause, conflict of interest etc. on these agreement. That section takes up 40% of the contract. If Jeannie decides to blow up the Staples Center, chances are good she would be fired !

    Back to the premise that Jeannie makes the decisions as President .

    Then why is Phil Jackson working for the New York Knicks and not the team his future wife is President of?

    Any my wife says I wasted my time in law school.

    Ha! Case closed.

  43. If “the buck stops with Jeanie,” what happened when she said that she felt betrayed when lakers hired mda instead of phil? Wouldn’t Dr buss at least consult with Jeannie since he “envisioned” her being “the boss” later on?

  44. Warren Wee Lim April 7, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Facts eh? So, when Kobe says that he doesn’t play for records it’s fact? When a reporter asks him if he knows that he’s nearing such and such milestone and he says no…it’s fact? Just because someone says something doesn’t mean it’s true.

    -=o0o=-

    I am not saying its a fact that Jeannie is president because she said so. I am saying she is the President because she IS the president. Learn to get your facts straight. She also said so by the way.

  45. Warren Wee Lim April 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Back to the premise that Jeannie makes the decisions as President .

    Then why is Phil Jackson working for the New York Knicks and not the team his future wife is President of?

    -=o0o=-

    There are 12 million reasons this is happening. It counts up to 60 million if the entire 5 years is done. Phil is not just going to eat off his wife’s salary now is he? Is it wrong to take a job that offers you 12 million dollars annually? Phil doesn’t have any obligation to the Lakers. He does have one to himself. His wife is team president, and why are we arguing this again?

  46. Warren Wee Lim April 7, 2014 at 8:27 am

    To everyone else who feels slighted, insulted, or in some way adversely affected by my posts, please allow me to get a simple message across:

    1. You are totally entitled to your opinions. But guess what, I am too.
    2. Commenting guidelines state:” 8). Try not to make the same point over and over, the goal is a ranging discussion.”
    3. Commenting guidelines state: ” 5). No personal attacks on other commenters.”

    In the past few days, there have been several posts that come across as condescending, contentious, borderline insulting and definitely loaded with sarcasm. I get it, we’re not the best of buddies nor do our ideas mesh. It doesn’t make you or me a better fan. Our ideas just differ.

    If your post wishes to belittle others because we are of lesser fortune than you, then I suggest you tell us how life has been kind to you in detail, but refrain from belittling the people you do not know personally. If you can’t help it, I suggest you look me up. Write a blog, post it on facebook or instagram, somewhere. Spare us.

    I will disengage from this discussion that will obviously lead none better than a petty pissing contest. I send Darius my apologies for engaging in the 1st place, but most of all I apologize to myself for wasting my own time.

  47. darius: a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He doesn’t set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent. In the end, leaders are much like eagles… they do not flock; you find them one at a time.

    seems the laker organization lacks an eagle.

    Go lakers

  48. Renato Afonso April 7, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Darius,

    While it’s a fact that Jeanie said that she’s the “boss” and everything is being done in harmony, we know that CEO’s often say that everything is running smoothly and that they’re about to have more funds available to pay their suppliers and jumpstart the company when they aren’t. It’s all about keeping appearances and reassuring their costumers as well as their suppliers. So, I’m not saying that she is not the highest authority figure in the Lakers organization. She probably is, but the extent of what she can decide or not can be questioned until further evidence is presented to us.

    I’m also not saying that she doesn’t have the power to do what she said just because I chose not to believe her words. I’m saying that just because someone goes on the record saying something doesn’t mean they’re telling the whole truth. And I’m Ko on this one… if the team is owned by a trust (66% of the votes) then said trust can decide who’s the CEO and then who’s the VP for basketball, etc. Just because she holds the top spot for now, I’m pretty sure that legally she can be voted off that spot. And I’m not saying they will do that or that they want to do that regarding her position or Jim’s position, I’m just saying that the possibility is there.

    Actions mean more than words so, I’ll wait for actions before judging the Lakers organization.

    On a further note, Jeanie’s interview was terrible. It was a scripted Q&A to accomodate the increasing turmoil regarding the Lakers FO. Plenty of questions weren’t made after she said that she was the “top dog”. I mean, you have to question about Phil in a serious manner. The obvious follow-up question would be “If you and Phil are indeed a couple and you have the highest rank within the organization, why wasn’t he hired?”. Then you could on and on from Kobe “Don’t you think you bid against yourselves when offering Kobe that contract? You’ll be paying over 30M for a backcourt with 40 and 36 in a CBA almost designed to prevent the Lakers from outspending everyone…” to MDA “Why was he offered a two seasons+ contract when you were not sure of your ability to retain the services of Dwight Howard or if he would fit in MDA’s offensive system? Why did you hire Kurt Rambis to be an assistant when he was basically questioning MDA’s basketball IQ on Lakers’ broadcasts?” to the rise of the Clippers “Do you feel comfortable lowering the quality of the product on the floor when the Clippers are on the rise and could potentially steal younger fans from the Lakers? Don’t you think that the current situation could actually diminish the Lakers’ revenue in 10 or 15 years?”. The lack of depth in that interview makes people question the veracity of her words or the real depth of her position in the Lakers’ structure. I believe that a proper interview with her not dodging any of the tough questions would make wonders to the Lakers credibility.

  49. Renato Afonso April 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Warren,

    You are right. I, more often than not, disagree with you on almost everything basketball related. However, personal attacks or mocking someone’s nationality, wealth status or other personal stuff are not acceptable and I believe that you’re entitled to an apology by some members. People with different views are what makes this a better place to discuss the Lakers so, don’t let something like this keep you from posting. To me you’re still that kid that wouldn’t stop using the trade machine and posting 200 fake trades per day before Bynum’s emergence as a top center. But, you’re an important part of this blog as all regulars are (I even miss JohnR, if you guys remember him) as well as most of the one time posters. Keep posting.

    By the way, most of us are condescending when it comes to subjects where we feel more comfortable. We should all try and fix that, even you WWL ;)

  50. Holy cow Warren. I’m not disputing the fact that Jeannie is President. I’m disputing the fact that she is calling the shots. Even the POTUS doesn’t have nearly the amount of power that many people give him credit for. All my post is trying to illustrate is that just because Jeannie may say publicly that she holds the control, and that her and Jim share the same vision for this team—> doesn’t mean that this is actually true! Especially since their relationship has been so obviously strained. (Also publicly)

    Also, don’t run from this thread or this debate…just debate with less condescension. We all enjoy your posts most of the time man! Cheers!

  51. the other Stephen April 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

    *exclaims tentatively* Go Lakers! *waves a little flag*

  52. As I understand it Jerry Buss left behind very specific instructions as to what roles each of his children would play within the team organization and how ownership would be divided. As I recall selling the team would have to be unanimous.

    As I recall from Jeanie’s interview she said she is the boss and insinuated she had a lot of power to fire people. She gave examples of things like vendors and the Laker Girls. But structurally when it comes to basketball decisions as I understand it is in Jim’s hands. Jeanie could theoretically torpedo the team by starving it for cash. But as long as she does what she should on the business front Jim will have a free hand to build the player personnel.

  53. “Can’t we all just get along?”

    Darius the site is clearly alive and well.
    Lots of passionate discourse!

    More important than who’s running the zoo in Lakerland,
    More important than who we’ll draft,
    More important than who we’ll get in FA:

    Who’s gonna win Ko’s wine contest!

    I nominate Rr to designate a separate winner of the “whine” contest.

  54. As an aside, I am not disputing that there may be more turmoil beneath the surface than what Jeannie said in her interview. In fact, I would not doubt that there is. But if you go back to the quote I cited in an earlier comment, Jeannie essentially said that she “empowered” the basketball people to make basketball decisions. So, I am not arguing/disputing that she is pretty much hands off in this regard and isn’t going to interfere much, if at all.

    This is where things get complicated, though. Because by laying out the framework of the organization the way that she did, she strongly implied that if things go south or if she sees fit, she can intervene. I don’t expect her to answer to hypothetical scenarios (I wouldn’t answer such questions if I were her) but if the team falters for an extended period to the point that a change in the front office is required, there may need to be changes that involves family.

    We will see how this plays out over the long haul. I only took the discussion in the direction that I did because it seems that people would rather ignore what’s been said entirely, take what’s said and apply it to what *they* would do and then project that onto the actual person in power, or simply make up a reason not to believe what was said. Doing those things are your prerogative, but I tend to not take those things seriously and question the point in engaging in debate since that stance is basically “I’ll believe what I want regardless of what is said on the record”.

  55. I find it amusing that the Jim Buss fans here are the only commenters who consistently feel the need to criticize, not only the topic of discussion, but other posters as well.

  56. But you do agree that the interview was a bit “shallow” and that our favourite anchorman, Will McAvoy, would’ve made those questions if he was leading the interview, right?

  57. Renato,
    Sure. But if you expected a business partner (which TWC and ESPN Radio are) to grill Jeannie Buss in an interview, you’re going to be disappointed every single time. They have an investment in the Lakers and surely want to keep the relationship as positive as it can be within the context that they will still ask questions that people want the answers to.

    As an aside, she was asked why Phil wasn’t hired (as a front office person) and she gave the expected answer — that she trusts Jim and Mitch and that they don’t need another person in that decision making process. Whether that’s genuine or not is up for debate but pressing her on that topic repeatedly would likely not make for keeping things on the up and up between these organizations that need to play (relatively) nice.

    Also, it’s not like people have to agree with her on that. But as I said before, it’s not so straight forward when the principals involved are family and when a lot of what they are acting out now was laid down by their recently passed away father.

  58. Lakers biggest challenge is how to replace Hill and Gasol. Even with a top pick,is that top pick going to be as good as Gasol or Hill?…So say the pick is equal as Gasol….Well you are still the same team…just with a different name as your best player….

  59. Agreed. Specially on the family front.

  60. For the record I not a Jim hater. He was left a aging team with few draft picks. I do think it’s silly to think after 2 years of silence to all of a sudden believe his sister is running things . Also no reason to think because she sleeps in the same bed as Phil that she has the on court knowledge.

    I once was married to a Raiderette Cheerleader. I never learned how to dance.

  61. As I generally do, I agree for the most part with KenOak and Renato here. Jeanie was doing a standard crisis-control interview, and I have no problem with that, as I said at the time. But it is unwise IMO to assign too much truth value or analytical weight to what she said.

    And, as Ko and Renato and to a lesser extent, Darius, point out, structurally, things are complicated with the Lakers, both due to the way the ownership of the team is divided up among the kids and the way that it relates to the trust, and due to the fact that it’s a family business. In colloquial terms, if the Lakers are still face-planted in 2016, in a normal ownership situation, the owner would simply can the GM. With the Lakers, the head basketball executive is also a part-owner and is the Team President’s older brother, and even if he is relieved of basketball decision-making duties, will still, presumably, be around the team. Diminishing those complexities based on what Jeanie said to Steve Mason and John Ireland may work for some, but I don’t think it is unreasonable not to be in that camp.

    But, like I said above, this stuff is at this moment in time largely just a talking point. Jim Buss defenders have no more parachutes that they can offer him. Either the team will get better, or it won’t, and what happens with Kobe, D’Antoni, the draft, and FA will ultimately go back to Jim Buss, so Lakers fans who don’t think he can do the job will either be happy to be wrong or unhappy to be right.

  62. I should also point out that I agree that the Lakers need to improve and since Jim is the VP of Basketball Ops the talent acquisition and improvement of the on-court product is going to be on him (and Mitch Kupchak). They need to make a good draft pick, need to make smart FA signings, and need to ensure that things trend upward after taking a steep turn downward this past season.

    I should also note that while I have said that I pretty much take Jeannie at her word in terms of the layout of the organization’s power structure, another thing she did with those comments was effectively distance herself from the basketball decisions and, thus, give herself some cover should things continue to go poorly on that front. By “empowering” Jim, she also puts the ball squarely in his court to perform. Basically, as noted above by RR and as I have said myself, it’s time for some things to go well or the heat on Jim will only rise.

  63. darius: sometimes I think they lack common sense. here’s an excerpt from an article in the los angeles times the other day citing a longtime laker season ticket holder:

    “This is so out of line,” said Smith. ”The organization has become toxic from top to bottom.”

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-lakers-tickets-plaschke-20140406,0,4581590.column#ixzz2yEGuOJqt

  64. Let me clarify something, i dont hate Jim Buss in fact i believe and i said it countless times that since he is been running the whole show he had made bold decisive moves that simply havent work out not a fan of his coaching choices but thats all right. I never, ever have said that i want him fired Mitch even less. I said before that as much he is demonized by a lot of people he is been one of the decision makers for the last 15 years so he deserves credit for past sucesses. I dont want him fired, i dont want Mitch fired , hell i dont want to MDA to be fired until he gets his fair share with a healthy team. I was just stating what i see from my perch 100,000 miles away of the inner workings of the FO. Jeanie could be the face of the Lakers and i want her in that role but i think she looks detached bc she is not calling the shots. I never said anything about going against the wishes of the good Dr. I only said that i felt that PJ ties to the organization should had been strenghten, not disolved. Its not like i was asking for him to run the team. Just keep him in the fold. Im not an instant gratification fan, i been a fan long enough to know that this might take a while at the least 2 years if we hit a grand slam in the summer of 2015. If not it might take a while and im ok with that

  65. I dont know why my comment in moderation got duplicated when i edited it. My apologies. We are all frustrated. I cant wait for this nightmare to end.

  66. 8 players injured,seven available, thats the nightmare in a nutshell.

  67. I was at the game and it was so sad to see in person as the Clippers just toyed with the Lakers. Hang in there fellas a few more games and we can start looking forward to the draft.

  68. EJ April 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Magic?

  69. EJ,

    Bear in mind. We played the Clippers yesterday with a team that next year will be our 2nd and 3rd string players (if they’re here at all). As Mychal Thompson says, “This whole season should have an asterisk by it.”

  70. @rr We need to hope and pray we get a player that can transform the franchise like Magic did. I’m just not sure if there is one in this draft. @Mid-Wilshire I know but damn that was painful. I’m used to having my remote handy just in case things get out of hand.

  71. Fellas: We’all got a lotta nutt’in. That’s just where we are at right now. Reduced to debating informed, carefully nuanced, conjecture with degree of probability winning the day. Reminds me of the Chinese folk curse: “May you live in interesting times!”

    Ko: Hey man, I dated a Niner’s cheerleader back in the day. She worked for Levi’s and was a Stanford grad. Go Gold Rush!

    Darius: Commendable management of this site in these dark days. Nice write-up in the new post. You keep me coming back.

    Xavier Henry: Undergoing wrist and knee arthroscopic surgery today. I still believe in his upside and want him back on the cheap. Hope his recovery is swift and complete.

  72. We need to hope and pray we get a player that can transform the franchise like Magic did. I’m just not sure if there is one in this draft.

    ——–

    Even if there is a player that good in this draft* , and even if the Lakers get him, he will be coming to team much, much less talented than Magic came to.

    * I doubt it, but much more importantly, Jerry West doubts it.