HoopsHype Jeanie Buss rumors

April 20, 2014 Updates

For her part, Jeanie uses the word "empowering" to describe the current situation with Jim, and Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak, trying to fix the basketball side of the franchise. "Jim has assured me that they have a plan in place, that the team will be better next year and we will be back in contention shortly," Jeanie said. "He's very confident in that plan and so I have to believe he knows what he's doing and what he's trying to accomplish. We have to be patient and give him that opportunity." Los Angeles Times

There's no doubt, though, who has the final say in the team's day-to-day operations, according to the family trust set up by their father. "If Jeanie and I got into a disagreement, Jeanie can overrule my argument," Jim said. "If she is adamant about the way she wants to do things, all she has to do is say, 'That's the way it's going to be.' But I don't anticipate those kind of arguments. We're two smart people and we respect each other. We're grown up enough to where we can talk things out." Los Angeles Times

Although Jim and Jeanie Buss say the family is committed to keeping the team, it only requires a "yes" vote by four Buss siblings to force the sale of the Lakers. Philip Anschutz, whose company owns Staples Center and the NHL Kings, and who personally owns 27% of the Lakers, holds the "first look" if the Buss family decides to sell its two-thirds ownership stake. It's not as strong as a right of first refusal, but it allows Anschutz a chance to buy the team. But if Anschutz passed because the Busses asked for too much, the Chicago investment group Guggenheim Partners, owner of the Dodgers, would eagerly jump into the bidding. The Guggenheim group envisions employing former Lakers star Magic Johnson as the ceremonial face of the franchise, a role he currently holds with the Dodgers. Los Angeles Times

April 19, 2014 Updates

One choice Jeanie shaped last November was to sign the team's aging superstar, Bryant, 35, to a two-year, $48.5-million contract extension. Jeanie was enamored by the idea of Bryant spending his entire career with the Lakers and pushed for an extension to get him to 20 years with the team. The deal honored Bryant's long career but also limited the Lakers' rebuilding possibilities while anchoring them to a suddenly injury-prone player. Los Angeles Times

However, with Jackson working for the Knicks, some in the Lakers organization believe his departure might help smooth out past family disputes. Jim insists he and his sister Jeanie get along fine. "I hate to burst the bubble of what the perception is. We've worked together for many, many, many years," he said. "With the missing piece of my dad, people think we have lost a connection, but that's not true. It's just business as usual." Los Angeles Times

Still, interviews with NBA officials, agents, players and current and former team employees suggest that the communication between the Lakers' business and basketball operations needs some improvement. Kobe Bryant raised the issue last month, saying the Lakers' future starts with Jim and Jeanie "and how that relationship plays out." Los Angeles Times

There's no doubt, though, who has the final say in the team's day-to-day operations, according to the family trust set up by their father. "If Jeanie and I got into a disagreement, Jeanie can overrule my argument," Jim said. "If she is adamant about the way she wants to do things, all she has to do is say, 'That's the way it's going to be.' But I don't anticipate those kind of arguments. We're two smart people and we respect each other. We're grown up enough to where we can talk things out." Los Angeles Times

As the team tries to retool its roster, Jim continues to work closely with Kupchak, who sounds out ideas with Buss before they arrive at a decision. Buss and Kupchak were torn on what to do with veteran Pau Gasol as the NBA trade deadline approached in February and the team lagged in the standings. Buss was fine with trading him, Kupchak wasn't so sure. In the end, the Lakers were never offered more than a second-round draft pick for the aging star, a pittance in their mind. And they didn't want to seem like they were dumping Gasol's $19.3-million salary for nothing. "Mitch wins a lot more of these battles than people imagine," said an agent who asked not to be identified because he deals with the Lakers. "They respect his caution." Los Angeles Times

April 9, 2014 Updates

Was there any internal discussion about Phil coming back, and where did you stand on that? How did that go? Mitch Kupchak: Yeah. Yeah. I mean there was nothing formal. This went on for a year or two. Q: But the most recent one. A: Well I don't know when the most recent one was. We discussed a year or two ago about how could we — and this was Jimmy and I and I know he may have discussed it with his family — and it was open for discussion. And it was kind of a standing understanding, but I think Jeanie said it best two weeks ago. At the end of the day, there was no position for a person of his stature. USA Today Sports

Q: What does that mean? Can you translate that? Because what it sounds like to me is that Phil is a larger-than-life figure and if he's coming he wants final say. Was that a factor? Mitch Kupchak: Well I'm not sure that it got to that, but what we talked about was involvement and being a piece, a part of it. But based on where he ended up and what he got, it's easy to see why he did what he did. It's a no-brainer. Before you even get to the money, he got a wonderful — a challenging — but a wonderful opportunity. Logistically, he has got to work it out but, um, you know, it's one of those things where I'm not sure if it's what he was looking for but when it came on the table you can't turn it around. USA Today Sports

April 3, 2014 Updates
March 27, 2014 Updates

Doing those things, however, were not Jerry Buss’ wishes. So Jeanie’s wishes, whatever they might’ve been, never mattered in one sense. It is just now getting interesting now that her wishes might really become her commands, as she begins an honest evaluation of the basketball operations department’s future years. Bleacher Report

For all of the public’s disappointment, there is very real private Lakers relief at Jackson’s square-shouldered shadow being gone, including for Jeanie. She has been banking time with her father and her fiance in recent years, but she will increase her focus on the Lakers now. Bleacher Report

March 24, 2014 Updates
March 21, 2014 Updates

But Dwight Howard took substantially less money last July to sign with Houston. "I still don't understand why he left," Buss said. "He had his own reasons. People I guess maybe would be talking [angrily] about the billboard. That really seemed to rub people the wrong way. I thought it was a good idea. It obviously didn't mean anything to him." Los Angeles Times

Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss made it clear Thursday that the final say, the "final hammer" as Dr. Jerry Buss used to call it, lies with her now. "I'm the boss," Jeanie Buss said in an hourlong interview on the "Mason and Ireland" show on ESPNLA 710 radio Thursday. "I am responsible ultimately for anything with the team and decisions that are made. "In my position, I empower people that are in positions to do their jobs. [Executive vice president of player personnel] Jim Buss and [general manager] Mitch Kupchak are responsible for all basketball decisions. They are empowered to do that. My job is to make sure, as a boss, that I provide them the tools to do the job successfully. But it's up to them to make the day-to-day decisions on how they operate their area of the business." ESPN.com

On major decisions, such as the recent choice on whether to offer former coach and Buss' fiancée, Phil Jackson, a formal role with the franchise, Buss said that she prefers to "build consensus" among the other siblings and shareholders. "When it comes to major decisions in any area of the organization, I like to the get the blessings of the shareholders -- of which my siblings are the majority -- and build a consensus even if it isn't something that all of them agree on," Buss said. "I like to build a consensus and work as a team." ESPN.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.