Image: Kevork Djansezian | Getty Images

While Laker fans are undoubtedly upset over the Phil Jackson making his way to the New York Knicks, it is important to remember that the situation is not on the shoulders of one particular member of the Buss family.

It is easy for everyone to point the finger at Jim Buss, the Executive Vice President of the Lakers as well as the main man running the basketball operations of the team, mainly citing the publicized ‘bad relationship’ between him and Jackson over the years.

In his article “No Phil Jackson shows Kobe Bryant doesn’t run Lakers”, Sam Amick of USA Today Sports, shed some light on the Lakers-Jackson situation including a bombshell:

This will all make for another great Lakers book someday, and maybe then we’ll find out if all the chatter is true that Jerry made Jim swear in his final days that Jackson would never return after he was gone…  It would shock no one, then, if it turned out that the senior Buss’ aversion to Jackson’s return was extended out of respect to their father from there.

Could Dr. Jerry Buss have been the driving force behind Jackson not returning to the Lakers? If true, does that change the perception of Jim Buss amongst fans who have no issue blaming him for the team’s troubles?

Friday afternoon on ESPN AM 710 in Los Angeles, Ramona Shelburne talked more in-depth about the dynamic surrounding Jackson not coming back to the Lakers, saying it was not only one of Buss children who had reservations about Jackson joining the franchise, but multiple Buss children that were uncertain about creating a role for the legendary coach.

According to Shelburne, the Buss children had ongoing discussions since December regarding the Jackson situation but with multiple members of the family against the change, it never reached a vote.  Additionally she mentioned it was a case of the family wanting to continue with the franchise structure their father left for them, instead of changing it a little over a year after his death.

In the end, was this simply a situation of children carrying out what their late father wanted?  While nothing has been confirmed directly (and it may never be), it is easy to understand how the family would go down this road in order to honor their father and his wishes.

Now with Jackson out of the picture, the Buss family can continue on the path laid out for them without the pressure of the fans calling for another figure head to take control of the purple and gold.

It is time for the Buss children to show what they can do.

  • Larry

    Cool article.Now this sounds to me like the whole Buss family hates Phil Jackson sans Jeanie.Anyways it is what it is.I think by Phil Jackson going to the New York Knicks this is going to be a blessing in disguise as this will motivate the crap out of Jim Buss to out perform Phil Jackson in the front office head to head,man to man.

    Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are veterans in the front office they have been wheeling and dealing for years and years,while Phil Jackson is new to this front office stuff he is a rookie president of basketball operations and he has a lot to learn about running a team successfully,it took Pat Riley more than a decade to get a championship as team president and Riley is one of the greatest coaches ever but he had a long road to get to where he is at today with Miami.

    Phil Jackson is old he is 68 years old already he has no time to mess up.Jim Buss and Mitch will make it work out for the Lakers they will be having cap space and they have free agent targets that Phil Jackson will try to get but at the end i am pretty sure Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak will end up with Kevin Love and Kevin Durant along with Deandre Jordan all via free agency in 2015 and 2016.On the other hand i think Phil Jackson will end up with Carmelo long term along with LeBron James.

    LBJ will opt in with Miami for 2014-2015 but he will leave to New York when they get cap space in 2015 and LeBron will be a free agent.So this lineup looks good to me for the Lakers below as long as Jim Buss takes Phil going to the rival Knicks very personally and uses it a big motivation to prove he is the best at creating a dynasty that wins championships.The big markets prevail.

    Lakers Future Dynasty By 2016 If Jim Buss Plays His Cards Right.

    PG Eric Bledsoe Via 2014 Free Agency
    SG Andrew Wiggins Via 2014 NBA Draft
    SF Kevin Durant Via 2016 Free Agency
    PF Kevin Love Via 2015 Free Agency
    C Deandre Jordan Via 2015 Free Agency

    • me

      That is a nice wishlist but its never gonna happen. Jabari Parker is more exciting and a better all around player than wiggins. durant is not leaving okc. deandre jordan is trash, all he can do is dunk. no one wants bledsoe. try this lineup on your nba 2k14 and see how it works. substitute wiggins for someone comparable

    • diegueno

      Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are veterans in the front office they have been wheeling and dealing for years and years

      You think that Jim Buss is a competent manager? Would you like to spend a couple weeks in my dacha in the Crimea this summer, too?

      • RonHawkster

        Hehe… Dacha!

        • diegueno

          yeah, it’s a great place
          my neighbor there is Rad Vlad

    • Stan

      Yes… and look at them…. Do the math

  • Larry

    The Lakers also need to make a coaching change by the end of this season.Jim Buss must find a new coach that can manage big egos and mesh them all together to be championship team.Gregg Popovich and Lionel Hollins are top candidates along with Jeff Van Gundy or maybe Kevin Ollie but the Lakers must make a head coaching change in order to instill defense and rebounding back in the Lakers system.Jim Buss and Mitch know what it takes to win championships and Mike D’Antoni is just not a good enough coach to keep around.

    • Steve Joseph

      Popovich entrenched with the Spurs, Lionel Hollins (you can’t be serious) and the Kevin Ollie suggestion……simply absurd lol.

  • Disgruntled Lakers Fan

    its so easy to blame the decision of not hiring Phil on the dead guy instead of the asshat that interviewed Dantoni over the phone and hired him right after Phil decided he was going to do it. or the same dumb fukk that decided to sign old ass Chucky aka steve nash to a 3 year $30 million deal when the doctors told him that steve wouldnt make it thru a full season. GO SUCK BALLS jim buss

  • stucktrader

    It would be AWESOME… if Steve Kerr became the coach for the Lakers next year… He knows the triangle BUT… he also worked under Pops…. He worked with 2 of the greatest coaches of the 2000s…

    In fact if he ran the triangle, he can go ahead and hire Phil’s bench of coaches and whoever he can steal from Popovich. Especially if Pops retires after this year.

    • RonHawkster

      Busses have already said Mike D will be back. If they get rid of him then we know they have been lying but I don’t think they are. I’m with you about Kerr though. I’d love to see him here. I doubt that I will.

      • Darnell

        They said Mke Brown wouldn’t be fired and 3 days later he was gone, so what do you expect them to say at this point?

        • RonHawkster

          They said he’d come back after season 1 and he did. You’re right that they fired him a few games into the season but by that time it was too late. They missed the entire, crucial off-season when you have the greatest availability of coaches, stars, a time to formulate a strategy. Instead, once they went 1-6 and they realized their grave mistake then they panicked, compounded their 2 initial bad decisions (of hiring MB, and then keeping him after season 1) by making more horrid decisions in a hurry. The smart thing would be to do something similar to NY: clear house, formulate a long range plan before the off-season, use the off-season to reload and then execute the plan. These clowns have no viable plans. They are acting reflexively. So my guess is that they won’t do anything significant this off-season and stay with the loser MD. Whether they’ll fire him after he starts 1-6 next season or not I can’t tell. I only know these clowns are experts in wasting entire seasons.

  • wtfruthinkin

    So I’m left to believe one of two things, if not both: one, Jerry Buss’ legacy as the greatest sports owner ever will be forever tarnished with the fact that he was an abject failure as a father and left the team in the hands of a bunch of spoiled incompetent boobs (his offspring); or two, the kids are such dysfunctional idiots on their own accord that they will stop at nothing to save their own hyde (even at the expense of their dead father). Either way, Laker fans are screwed since Jeanie is the only sibling with an advanced degree and any clue whatsoever, and her brothers won’t even listen to her. Meanwhile, Phil gets to go to NY, recruit Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, maybe LaMarcus Aldridge and quite possibly LeBron, and Jim Buss can go after the lefovers like JJ Barea, Arron Afflalo and Omer Asik. The Buss brothers have no shot, so we just have to wait for them to choke their collective chickens in front of the world until they figure it out or sell…

    • diegueno

      We will know if that is true if Jeanie ever gets a hold of the reins of the franchise.

  • RonHawkster

    The decision to not hire Jackson has to be evaluated within a larger picture. Having followed how Jerry Buss ran the team for decades, it was always obvious that in the end he mostly did what was best for the team, even if it meant reversing earlier decisions, spending tons of money, or stepping on egos, and there are examples for all of those. I don’t buy the chatter of a deathbed wish to ban PJ. And I don’t care whether it was multiple Buss kids who voted against it or the eldest. Consider these:
    1- Does the family have a vision for how to reboot this dysfunctional and underachieving band of overpaid, over-the-hill players?
    2- Are they qualified to form such a vision?
    3- Have they effectively executed such a vision?
    4- Have they stated their vision to their (rightfully) disgruntled fans?

    Consider this: They loaded the team with a bunch of ageing and overpaid players with bad, long term contracts. They threw away their draft picks in bad trades. They hired two coaches that the fans did not consider right for the team (Mike Brown & Mike D) and the fans turned out to be more than right. They never developed a system of bringing in and nurturing youth for the future (something that San Antonio excels at). And repeatedly they have shown a laughable understanding of business and basketball. Here are some examples:
    – They signed Ron Artest to a long, expensive contract, and already after the first season they looked to unload him, not finding takers. They finally amnestied him and paid another 8 million for a season he did not play.
    – They signed Pao to a huge contract and since then they have unsuccessfully been looking to trade him.
    – They traded for Howard without understanding what it would take to keep Howard. The fans knew that. And in the end, everyone was right but the front office.
    – Two years ago they traded for another player at the end of his career, Nash. At the time, Jim Buss claimed this was going to take the Lakers back to the 80s run&gun Showtime years. There wasn’t a person in LA who believed that tripe, and many hoped he was joking. Not only did his childish fantasy never happen, Nash was out part of last year and just about all of this year, and when he was on the floor it was anything but Showtime. He’ll get his 10 mil next year also to sit on the bench and rub his back. Another 30 mil down the drain.
    – The 2 year contract extension with Kobe. We all love him, but he is another high mileage player whose body is failing him but his warrior mind is in denial. Furthermore, after all the good money he has made, I would have appreciated it if he had done something like Tim Duncan and signed for much less. Kobe is getting 25 mil a year. Duncan? 10 mil. Does anyone think TD is worth less than Kobe or Pao while he gets paid 1/2 or 1/3 of them? Kobe: you might deserve it, you might be worth it, but you’re being much more selfish than TD.

    All these ageing players are in just for the money.

    My conclusion: There is a vision alright but it’s not formulated by a sound basketball mind. Add to that the big Timewarner contract, and many of their decisions are further diluted by trying to appease the panicky TW (with decisions like keeping big name players on the roster to keep the viewers), thus all these poor, short term and backfiring decisions. I fear that as fans we’re in for more misery while Jim Buss indulges himself in denial of the fact that he just doesn’t have it. I feel sad for us as fans. Jim Buss will make his millions in profit despite delivering a terrible product but there is no glory left in the Lakers.

    As for PJ, my guess is this: The whole family, including Jim Buss, did consider hiring him. PJ’s price must have been too high (and I don’t mean just the dollars). He must have wanted complete FO control, and that’s when the family cringed and balked. Knicks’ Dolan cringed at first too, but after the disaster Knicks have been for so long, he caved in and not only doled out $60 for PJ, he relinquished control. In 5 years, when the Lakers have piled more misery and shame on top of misery, they’ll come around, accept defeat and give up some of the control to someone else (not PJ). Buckle up folks. It’s going to be a long, dry spell.

    • RonHawkster

      Sorry for the long post, folks. I had a lot on my mind.

  • Max Prime

    I think a coach from the Popovich staff would be good or I also like B-Scott.

  • Max Prime

    Some people are just born under the wrong sign. It seems like Jim Buss might be one of those people. Look at his history. He’s failed at everything he’s ever done.

  • Stan

    Who wrote this bombshell letter about the family decision ? and what evidence do you have ? I for one don’t believe it. DR Buss surrounded himself with genus’s and Jimmy is pushing them away as fast as possible. I’m a 50 year laker fan…. GO KNICKS

  • sarah

    I don’t buy this story for a second. It’s been said repeatedly for the last year or so that Jim Buss WAS and IS in charge of “basketball/personnell” decisions, so I know who to blame for all the bad hiring choices. Leave it to Jim Buss to blame his dad. I’d actually have some respect for him if he’d just take responsibility.
    Magic has always been a big supporter of Phil, and Magic was really close to Jerry…Don’t you think the supposed animosity between Jerry & Phil would have been something Magic knew about?!? Wouldn’t he have said something about it?…Instead he still continues to promote Phil coming back to the Lakers. Jerry would have put his ego aside in order to do what was best for the team. He loved The Lakers.