In comments to the Mike Bresnahan and the Los Angeles Times, Lakers owner Jim Buss made his most impactful statement since taking full control of basketball operations in 2013.
As fans continue to have doubts regarding the direction of the franchise, Buss clearly knows the expectations of franchise and as a result noted in a board meeting with his family that he would resign from his position if the team was not back to being a contender in the coming years.
“I was laying myself on the line by saying, if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed.”
Buss has hardly been a public figure for the team since taking over the team after the death of his father, Dr. Jerry Buss. Without the appearances at games or at press conferences, the fans have questioned the whereabouts of Buss while also criticizing the lack of responsibility being taken by management.
Buss is said to have been the driving force behind the hiring of Mike Brown and Mike D’Antoni, two very unpopular hires amongst the fan base. To make matters worse for Buss, this year the team suffered its worst season since moving to Los Angeles with a 25-57 record. Add in Dwight Howard leaving to Houston or the team passing over Phil Jackson twice, many if not all decisions have gone wrong the past two seasons.
Although it is easy to focus on the negatives, Buss has shown flashes of brilliance such as moves like acquiring Chris Paul before the move was vetoed by the NBA and then responded to that by making moves for Dwight Howard and Steve Nash, giving the Lakers high expectations before everything came crashing down due to injuries and many other issues. It might be that brilliance that gives Buss the confidence to tell people the Lakers will be back on top sooner than later.
“There’s no question in my mind we will accomplish success. I’m not worried about putting myself on the line.”
If anything, fans should at least give Buss credit for finally stepping into the spotlight and putting his job on the line. Not only does it show that he is maturing as an executive, but is also taking responsibility for the success and failure of the Lakers.
It is a start in the right direction.