The NBA Finals are about to tip off north of the border — a genuinely competitive Finals for the first time in a couple of years — and yet the shadow of drama in Los Angeles still hangs over the NBA.
The Lakers dysfunction dominated the NBA landscape Tuesday, from the story about how Magic Johnson ran the Lakers through fear and intimidation, with Magic denying those charges, with a sidebar of GM Rob Pelinka just making up stories about Kobe Bryant meeting Heath Ledger.
“I know Jeanie knows how to manage a team. Sure, when things start to go wrong, a lot of fingers get pointed. But they’ll figure it out.”
That is the hope of Lakers fans as well.
Buss has wanted things done “the Lakers way” and kept power with people she trusts — first her brother, then after she removed him it was Magic Johnson, Buss’ long-time friend, and Rob Pelinka, who has been around the Lakers for decades as Kobe’s agent. Long-time Laker Kurt Rambis has more power in his advisory role, and his wife Linda Rambis remains one of Buss’ best friends and sounding boards. That insular community believes the Lakers will land a big name this offseason, be back to being a contender next year with just a couple of tweaks around their stars (getting a shooter or two), and that after that everything will be fine.
That belief ignores more systemic issues and is what should really concern Lakers fans. Even if LeBron James recruits the Lakers into a good summer.