File under “things which would have been good to think about five days ago.”
The Los Angeles Times sat down with Lakers VP Jim Buss who has been running the show and making decisions significantly different from how his dad has handled things over the last few years. They asked specifically about the hiring of Mike Brown, and how Kobe Bryant was not brought in on the decision, and subsequently “surprised.” Buss, instead of holding firm to the party line, broke out the ol’ truth stick.
“Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe,” Buss says. “Kobe said it was management’s job to pick a coach. He just said, ‘Defense first.’ That’s what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him.”
The Times didn’t ask if he had apologized to Bryant, but you can probably assume. Bryant will play for anyone, but only in the way Bryant plays for anyone. He broke off plays, ignored the offense, and did his own thing under Phil Jackson, the most successful coach in NBA history. The odds of him somehow reigning it in under Mike Brown, who couldn’t control LeBron James in any facet of reality, are low.
There’s an uneasiness among the Laker faithful about the direction of the team under Jimmy B. He hasn’t proven he knows what he’s doing, and his decisions run counter to those of the past ten years… decisions which have brought, you know, titles, and lots of them. The clear and succinct departure from the Phil Jackson regime in particular reeks of hubris in the face of daunting counter-evidence of success. How Buss handles upgrading the team going forward, as well as the Brown hire, will provide the reality of how the new kid will do with the reins.
For his part, Buss is denying that he is “in charge,” instead saying all decisions are made between Buss, the elder Buss, and GM Mitch Kupchak.Word from multiple media outlets is that the kiddo is still the one pushing the buttons at this point.