Lakers owner Jeanie Buss wielded her power, installing Magic Johnson as President of Basketball Operations and ousting Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak from the front office.
Why did she drop the hammer today?
It wasn’t just that Jim Buss and Kupchak failed to trade for DeMarcus Cousins. It’s how they internally managed negotiations with the Kings, who ultimately sent Cousins to the Pelicans.
One source close to the situation said Kupchak and Jeanie Buss had not spoken since Nov. 1, despite her role as president of basketball operations and the power that gave her to fire Kupchak, and that her brother had resorted to communicating with his sister only through lawyers. The same source said Jeanie never was informed of a potential DeMarcus Cousins trade over the weekend and described a chaotic scene in which Jim Buss insisted low-level basketball officials “vote” on the proposed deal while Jeanie and Magic were left in the dark.
Jeanie allowed this culture by indulging Jim’s silly timeline pledge. That led to too many desperate tactics, even when he wasn’t so desperate to save his job.
She also exacerbated these issues by hiring Johnson as an advisor and then watching him repeatedly spout off about being in charge. Think Jim Buss and Kupchak were eager to answer to and be evaluated by someone gunning for their jobs?
This doesn’t mean Jim Buss and Kupchak handled the situation well, but chaos breeds chaos. There’s plenty of blame to spread around for the Lakers’ predicament.
Jeanie Buss and Johnson should have a better working relationship. At least it won’t face the same pressures as the siblings’ partnership.