Los Angeles Lakers Rumors
On Thursday Jim Buss, part-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations, spoke to The Times about the upcoming season, the team’s draft picks, his rebuilding plan — and what could be the final season of Bryant’s career. “We’re going to approach it like it is, but that doesn’t mean it is,” Buss said of Bryant. “I’m not going to sit there and say, ‘This is it, Kobe, you’re done,’ because it’s not my decision, it’s his decision.”
So is this Bryant’s final year with the team? “My arms are like this,” Buss said, holding his arms wide open, about Bryant’s future. “He just has to know, at that age, and that many miles on you, what is your role? We’ll explain the role, and if he still wants to do that and that’s how he wants to go out, that’s fine with me.”
The Lakers have traditionally built their championship rosters with big men, but the team passed on Duke center Jahlil Okafor to take Ohio State guard Russell with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft. “We’ve got high aspirations for him,” Buss said. “We normally look to get bigs, but [Russell] was just that impressive, that we just didn’t feel right passing up on him. “My enthusiasm for D’Angelo Russell, I have to curb it because I’m so excited about it. He could be anything in this league.”
Buss also believes strongly in Coach Byron Scott. “He has the Laker blood in him,” Buss said. “[Mike] D’Antoni and Mike Brown, they weren’t Lakers. They loved the Lakers and they tried their best and I think they’re both great coaches. “I’ll take blame for that, but there was a lot of people, including my father [the late Jerry Buss] and Mitch [Kupchak], who were in favor of these changes. But it feels like we’ve righted the ship. We’ve got the coach, we’ve got the players.”
Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson will not suit up for Philippine national basketball team anytime soon. In an email to US-based Philstar.com contributor Homer Sayson, Mike Clarkson, Jordan’s father, cited timing as a factor in his son’s decision to pass on the chance to don the country’s colors, emphasizing Jordan’s current commitment with the Lakers in the NBA.