Jeanie Buss Rumors
O’Neal’s unveiling validated AEG’s clairvoyance on his accomplishments with the Lakers. But his statue also represents how he reconciled with the Lakers after he was traded to the Miami Heat following the 2004 NBA Finals loss to Detroit. “The Buss family has done a lot for me and we’ve had great times together,” O’Neal said. “We had a million great times and probably one bad time. The million great times are the times we always remember and the times that count.”
But ever since the team’s dramatic front-office overhaul Feb. 21, when Lakers governor Jeanie Buss fired her brother, Jim, and general manager Mitch Kupchak and promoted Johnson to president of basketball operations, Vitti has been noticeably absent. According to sources close to the franchise, prior to Feb. 21, Vitti had been seen at every home game save for one and at the facility about four days a week when the team wasn’t on the road — but since the regime change, those sources say, Vitti hasn’t been seen at any games, practices, anything.
Vitti issued the following comment to ESPN regarding his status with the Lakers: “I worked more than half of my life for the Lakers, and I can honestly look at myself in the mirror and say I gave every ounce that I had every day. I will forever be grateful to [the late Lakers owner and patriarch] Dr. [Jerry] Buss, a man I believe exemplified what I believe to be the trifecta of the most important human values: honesty, kindness and loyalty. Going forward, it’s not my team so Jeanie can do what she thinks is best.”
Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss has asked her older brothers Johnny Buss and Jim Buss for assurances they’ll vote for her to remain both the controlling owner and a member of the team’s board of directors for the rest of her life, according to documents filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday. The documents were in response to a filing by Jim and Johnny’s attorneys that affirmed they’d vote her in to the team’s board of directors for at least the next year.
In a letter sent to Jeanie Buss and other members of the Lakers’ board on Feb. 24, Jim and Johnny proposed a slate of four directors that did not include Jeanie Buss or Joey Buss, who had previously served on the board. Jeanie Buss’ lawyers argued in court March 2 that Jim and Johnny are breaching their fiduciary responsibilities as trustees by not including her in the slate of proposed directors.
Jerry West was interested in returning to the Lakers, where son Ryan has carved out a useful role with the old and new regime, but, though Jeanie Buss will forever revere Jerry, he didn’t match her vision for the future, according to NBA sources. Bryant is loyal to Pelinka, but Bryant is sticking to his personal plan to stay focused on business pursuits rather than maximizing his basketball legend or taking on any actual Lakers role under new management.