Jim Buss Rumors
Of course, the 29-year-old Moreno Valley native is no stranger to big real estate splurges. Leonard still owns a sumptuous estate in the equestrian-oriented San Diego suburb of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., acquired in 2019 for $13.3 million. And during basketball season, he bunks up in a $6.7 million condo at the ritzy Ritz Carlton Residences at L.A. Live, the skyscraper condo complex that sits high above the Staples Center, and where other moneyed residents include fellow pro basketballer Lonzo Ball, Lakers owner Jim Buss, and horror movie maestro Jason Blum.
Johnny, the owner of the Ice House Comedy Club, said he now isn’t speaking to his brother Jim and maintains an emotional distance from the management of the family business and from the sister in charge. “Jeanie really matured in the last two years, to a point I’m really proud of her, but it doesn’t mean I’ll talk to her much,” he said. (A lawyer for Jim Buss could not be reached for comment.) Ms. Buss makes no apologies. “My dad had his children, but the Lakers was his baby,” she said. “My father said, ‘You are ultimately in charge, you have to protect the baby.’”
Among the least politically involved in this Los Angeles group were the Lakers owners. Jeanie Buss donated $2,700 to Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign and also made nearly $5,000 in donations through ActBlue, the online fundraising platform. Jim Buss’ donations to Republican efforts, including Trump’s reelection, totaled about $7,200.
The Lakers succession has been everything Jerry Buss hoped to avoid by giving his children important jobs… starting with the feud between Jeanie and her brother, Jim, anointed as head of basketball operations… although he had no interest in the day-to-day, either. Fortunately, GM Mitch Kupchak did all that stuff, rebuilding the team after the trade of Shaquille O’Neal to win its 2009-2010 titles. Unfortunately, Jeanie saw the faithful Kupchak, who had no choice but to work with the owner’s son, as too close to Jim and fired him along with her brother in 2017. Jeanie then hired Magic, who would prove unsuited for the job.
On Feb. 21, 2017, Kupchak’s 92-year-old mother was visiting from New York. That morning, two days before the NBA’s trade deadline, Kupchak received the call informing him that he had been fired along with Jim Buss and John Black, the team’s longtime head of public relations. “I kind of knew that the situation was tenuous,” Kupchak said. “There was a lot going on. … It was a challenge. And nothing lasts forever, so I really was not that surprised.” Soon, he was in the car with his mother and sister, navigating the 405 Freeway toward LAX. “I had to take them to the airport like an hour after I got the phone call, so that was tough for them,” he said.
So Bryant told her, “Cut it all out at once. I know it’s hard to do, but if you want to turn this ship around, and turn it around sooner rather than later, then you’ve got to make those hard decisions.” Especially if the Lakers primary free agency target was the greatest player in the game. “Jeanie, I know who we’re trying to get; we know who we’re trying to get, so that player is not going to come here with all of this shit going on. It’s not going to happen,” Bryant told her. “So if you do want to have that focus, and go after that player, then I’m telling you that you’ve gotta clean house, and you’ve gotta just reshuffle the deck and start anew. You have the new practice facility (the UCLA Health Training Center) that we’re just moving into (in the summer of 2017). We’ve got new management, and off we go. But that player is not coming here unless you do that.
“As a player, it’s like, listen, it’s a cultural thing. You’ve got to have the right culture around, especially for him at this stage of his career,” Bryant explained. “You don’t want to come to a team and deal with a bunch of bullshit, right? You don’t want to come here and be part of an organization where the walls are talking and stuff is getting out left and right and you have this camp and that camp. You don’t want to do that. So I said, ‘You’ve got to start anew.’”