We talked about this before — the biggest challenge for the Lakers right now is the younger Buss family finding a way to lead this team into a new era. Having history and tradition are nice, having the Los Angeles market is huge, but that alone isn’t going to be enough. The Lakers need creative leadership again.
Part of the challenge is finding a balance with Jim Buss running the basketball side and Jeanie Buss the business side (as set up by the late Dr. Jerry Buss’ trust to his six kids). Which is why Phil Jackson — Jeanie’s fiancé and long-time beau — is a challenge for the Lakers: Bring him in as coach and he tips the balance of power. He is such a large presence he changes everything if they give him a formal role.
Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com covered that in a fantastic Hollywood Reporter piece recently.
Bucher took to Sulia to add some stuff he just couldn’t fit in that story — including the idea of Jackson as a temporary broadcaster.
“Right now he has no official position,” Jeanie said of Phil’s role with the team. “He wants to be supportive of me and the organization. He has no contractual obligation. He would listen to anything where he might be able to help. If we asked him to fill in on the broadcast because someone was out, I’m sure he’d do it. Just because everyone puts him as a coach doesn’t mean that’s the only thing he’s capable of doing.”
Jim Buss welcomes Phil’s involvement – to a degree. “We can call him at any time,” Jim said. “(GM) Mitch (Kupchak) has sat down with him several times, especially with the Dwight situation. I’d be more than happy to have him on a consultant basis. I don’t think we’re paying him and I don’t know if he has an official title. I have no idea if Jeanie wants to sit down and discuss that. But I have no issues with him coming back or having a role.”
Jackson as a fill-in broadcaster for a couple of games? Heck yes I’d tune in.
That Jeanie and Jim have not had a formal discussion of any role for Jackson speaks to the communication issues that seem to surround the team right now.
Jackson isn’t the problem, he is just a symptom of the larger issues.
Teams that win over time win from the top down — everyone from ownership down to the guy handing out towels and Gatorade cups on the bench are on the same page. Look at the Spurs as the obvious example of how to make it work, but you’re seeing that now in places such as Miami — one clear voice and plan on how to move forward.
Jerry Buss gave the Lakers that. The younger Buss kids now need to figure out how to do that together.