Jeanie Buss Says Her Father Could Have Convinced Dwight Howard To Stay With Lakers
Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss said that "one person had a chance" to keep Dwight Howard from leaving the team for the Rockets, "her father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss," according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN L.A. Buss, appearing on ESPN Radio 710 L.A. on Thursday, said, "They would've probably had a better relationship if my dad hadn't been sick. When it came time to try to convince Dwight to stay, we lost the best closer in the business in Dr. Buss. Putting up the billboard maybe wasn't the right thing. But we maybe have to learn to do things differently because Dr. Buss isn't here anymore. People said (of the billboards), 'Oh, that's not the Laker way.' Well, the Laker way isn't the same, because Dr. Buss isn't here." She added, "I was disappointed that Dwight chose to leave. Certainly he was well within his rights, with free agency. I just don't agree with his decision." Asked why she did not attend the Lakers' final pitch meeting to Howard, Buss said, "Dwight knew how I felt." She added her brother, Lakers Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss, was present, so she did not "really think there was any reason for me to be there." Jeanie Buss noted she has a "great relationship" with all her brothers. Buss said of whether there is a chance she ends up running the team by herself someday, "I enjoy hearing from the fans, but they have to understand I have a job already. I can't take on anymore. This was something my dad set up, and I think it's important we move forward with what he put into place" (ESPNLA.com, 8/8).
KEEPING A LOW PROFILE: In L.A., Eric Pincus noted Jeanie Buss was "a rarity at Lakers games last season, instead of her being a usual fixture at her seats opposite the Lakers' bench." She said, "I've had a really tough year losing my dad. I really needed time to just to have some quiet time and not be engaged the way I normally would be with the Lakers" (LATIMES.com, 8/8).