Lakers' Future In Hands Of Jeanie, Jim Buss As Siblings Try To Iron Out Differences
The challenge facing Lakers Exec VP/Business Operations Jeanie Buss and Exec VP/Player Personnel Jim Buss "is not merely to see the world" as their late father did, "but to act on that vision with equal success," according to Ric Bucher of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The club's allure has "been defined by a peculiar mix of success on the court and Hollywood flash among its fan base." It "remains to be seen whether this Buss generation can keep Tobey Maguire, Ari Emanuel and Jack Nicholson dropping $100,000 apiece for courtside season tickets." The Buss siblings in many ways "represent opposing sides of their father's personality -- and the conflict is evident in how the team is run." Jeanie "leads the business operation" and now is the Lakers' rep on the league's BOG, which means the NBA "views her as being at the helm." Jeanie said, "My brother ultimately makes the (basketball) decisions. I defer and will continue to defer because that's what my dad believed would be successful." However, Bucher noted deferring "clearly is different from agreeing, and while Jeanie is supportive of her brother, she barely hides her frustration at not being included in major team moves." She said, "To be held accountable by the league and not have a seat at the table when decisions are made is hard." Jim "denies he wields unilateral authority," and "insists the Lakers are a democracy that includes GM Mitch Kupchak, to whom Jim says he often defers." Jim Buss: "I don't run the franchise. We run it as a family. I'm just a figurehead." Bucher noted the L.A. sports media "sometimes portrays Jim as a slacker who inherited his father's tastes but not his business savvy." However, he said that those characterizations are "outdated." An unnamed NBA exec said, "Jim is an easy target. But he's smart, no question about it. He's smarter than Jeanie" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/23 issue).