Jim and Jeanie Buss disagree on his deadline to step down from Lakers

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After the 2013-14 season, Lakers executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss said:

if this doesn’t work in three to four years, if we’re not back on the top — and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship — then I will step down because that means I have failed.

Buss says the Lakers are ahead of schedule.

He better hope so, because his sister and fellow owner – team president Jeanie Buss – has a different idea about his deadline.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

When pressed on the matter of when the deadline date will be, Jim said, “Two more full seasons, a summer of change and then let that season go. Whatever happens in that third season, that’s fine. I have no problem with that. I think we’re that close.”

Yet Jeanie, the Lakers president, told USA TODAY Sports that she was perplexed by that characterization of the timeline.

“He has given me a timeline, and I have no reason to think that they won’t have a competitive team by the deadline,” Jeanie said.

That deadline, she was asked, is the end of the 2016-17 season?

“Yes,” she said. “Not this season, but the end of next season, which will be the summer of 2017.”

This was always a strange declaration by Jim, especially making it public. The imprecise “three to four years”  is only the start of the problems.

The Lakers are forced into short-term thinking when a lengthier rebuild might be wiser. Jim is building the roster to keep his job, not to maximize the Lakers’ long-term outlook. Those goals don’t always conflict, but when they do, we’ve seen the result. Despite likely missing the playoffs this season, the Lakers are keeping veterans over promising young players.

And define “contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship.” That’s such a vague standard – far more than the years Buss has to achieve his goal. Jim and Jeanie might be headed for another disagreement on that.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.