Why can’t Peter Vescey cover the movements of the Wilpon family? This morning’s “Hoops Du Jour” lays the blame for the Lakers’ inability to seal the deal on Phil Jackson’s 2nd tour of duty squarely at the feet of Jim Buss.
According to the 2004-05 Official NBA Guide, the Lakers’ chain of command lists team owner Dr. Jerry Buss No. 1, executive VP of business operations Jeannie Buss No. 6, and Jim Buss tied with Ronnie Lester at No. 11; both men co-share the title “assistant general managers” under GM Mitch Kupchak.
Thus, more than a few people found it somewhat odd to hear Dr. Buss (above) inform the team’s beat writers and a national TV crew or two at last week’s “state of the Staples” press conference that “he, Mitch and Jim are making all the decisions” . . . the hiring of a coach, of course, being the organization’s foremost priority.
What do you mean what qualifies Jim Buss to make such meaningful decisions? If James Dolan can ascend to Cablevision’s throne and be held unaccountable for repeated blunders because he’s related to his father, Charles, why shouldn’t Jim Buss be entitled to the same latitude?
This is the risk parents take, I submit, when they reject chastity as an option and follow up that lapse in judgment by bringing their children to work so they can see what their daddies or mommies do for a living.
Jeanie Buss was so mesmerized by her flamboyant father’s business, both public and personal, she wound up emulating his lifestyle in many respects, redeeming and otherwise. You’d have to ask Dr. Buss which group sleeping with the Lakers’ head coach ” an affair that continues to smolder a year after Phil Jackson checked out of his jurisdiction ” falls into.
By all accounts, unlike his sister, Jim Buss has done nothing to distinguish himself as an entrepreneur and is universally disrespected by those who’ve shared his umbrella. Go figure; his two claims to fame are partying hearty and squandering his father’s fortune. And it’s not like Dr. Buss isn’t giving him ample opportunity these days.
The way I hear it, Jim Buss basically has been in charge of the Lakers since they got “swept in five games” by the Pistons in last June’s Finals. So much so that he hired Rudy Tomjanovich on his own, without Jeanie’s knowledge or expertise (her job is to oversee all contracts) for $30 million over five years.
“Jim thought that was the going rate,” laments an L.A. source, when, in fact, it was roughly double what any other team might have offered had any team been remotely inclined.