I will say this for Jim Buss (the son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss who now runs the franchise): he is getting out and talking to the media more. He realizes he needs to have a presence with the fans (like his sister Jeanie does).
So he went on a the Lakers flagship radio station in Los Angeles Thursday and said what Lakers fans wanted to hear, as reported at ESPNLosAngeles.com. Well, at least some of the things Lakers fans wanted to hear.
“Me personally, I’m never happy unless we win our last game in the playoffs,” Buss said in an interview on the “Mason & Ireland Show” on 710 ESPN Radio on Thursday. “I’m very disappointed in the season. I thought we were a better team than this, but you can look at it as this was the first year these guys have played together with this coach.
“There’s a lot of things you can look at and build for the future and say they haven’t had the time to gel like other teams. You watch San Antonio, they can play with their eyes closed because they know exactly where everybody is and what they’re doing and what their quirks are. You see a team that sticks together like that and we didn’t have that.”
Yes, the Lakers were a team that made stylistic, coaching and roster changes in a year everyone knew would have a limited training camp (if one at all). As a result the Lakers looked like a team trying to figure it out most of the season. And that’s pretty much all on you Jim. You chose to change direction, not promote Brian Shaw and keep the triangle but rather rid the organization of all things Phil Jackson. You wanted to fashion the team the way you like it. There’s a price for that.
Some of the Lakers issues also fell at the feet of Mike Brown, the coach Lakers fans are not sold on. But Buss sounds good with him.
“I think he did a fantastic job. … I want to sit down for a couple hours and go through (if) his influence showed up on the floor, which I think it did. I think it was just unfortunate we lost that series, otherwise we’d still be in it and we’d all think that everything is fantastic.”
As you would expect, Jim Buss praised Andrew Bynum for how he stepped up. Bynum has one more year on his Lakers deal and while the team will likely not be able to sign him to an extension (it’s in Bynum’s financial interest to become a free agent and re-sign with the Lakers, it pays him more for longer) they need to make sure he’s happy and to keep him. Buss talked about Bynum as a guy you build around.
The Lakers do not have a first round draft pick, having moved theirs this year for Ramon Sessions. It was the 24th pick and a low-level rookie is not what the win-now Lakers need anyway. Buss recognizes this and says he is not planning to trade assets to get into the draft.
But you can bet there will be roster changes for the Lakers this summer. Maybe big ones.