Report: Jim, Johnny Buss want to cash out of Lakers ownership, but that creates other problems

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The assumption behind the Machiavellian move by Jim Buss and his older brother Johnny to wrest control of the Lakers from Jeannie Buss was a power play. Just days before Jeanie, the controlling owner of the Lakers, had relieved Jim of his power as head of basketball operations (along with Mitch Kupchak) putting Magic Johnson in charge. The logical leap was Jim wanted his power back.

But now, he may just want cash.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN has a fantastic bit of reporting up breaking down the Shakespearian Buss family drama, and sister Janie Buss said her two brothers want to cash out.

“This is something huge and it’s not going to go away. They’re trying to bust the trust so they can sell their [interests],” younger sister Janie Buss says. “And if they sell, that’ll leave the rest of us in a minority.”

Janie says she thinks that Johnny and Jim each have different motivations but that their endgame is the same: to cash out.

“Growing up, Johnny was the kid who brought the ball to the park and when things didn’t go his way, he took the ball and ran,” Janie says. “I don’t want to call him a poor sport, because a poor sport would be someone who lost a game and kicked the referee. No, Johnny took the ball away so nobody could play.

“Jimmy will bring the ball, but he’ll be like, ‘Everyone gets to play, but you have to put a dollar in to play. He tries to figure out things mathematically, how to get the best advantage.”

First, an explanation of the minority comment. Currently, each of the six Buss children own 11 percent of the team through four trusts (AEG owns 25 percent, there are other minority owners, but the Buss block is the majority). Cash out two of them and the Buss family share would drop to 44 percent.

The trust is written in such a way that the other Buss children have to take steps to make and keep Jeanie as the controlling owner.

Just buying out the brothers by the Buss children is not that simple — the Lakers are worth an estimated $3 billion, according to Forbes. That means each older brother’s share is in the $330 million range, and for the Buss family the Lakers are the family business — it makes them a lot of money, but not that much money. There would be groups interested, but the Buss family doesn’t want to give up control.

Only one thing is for sure: The Game of Thrones power struggle in Los Angeles is far from over. The palace intrigue and maneuvering is going to be a summer hit and maybe beyond.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.