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Jeanie Buss shares a theory on the Lakers' struggles, talks about NBA contraction

Everyone can relax. There's a very specific reason why the Lakers (31-13) enter Friday's game against the Denver Nuggets mixing in winning streaks with inconsistent performances, have gone 5-6 against winning teams and trail the San Antonio Spurs (36-6) by six games in the Western Conference standings.

And, at least according to Lakers executive vice president Jeanie Buss in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, the reason has little to do with inconsistent defense, offensive chemistry and effort.

"I hate to say this, but I think because they decide who's going to coach the All-Star team based on the standings on Jan. 30, so it looks like Gregg Popovich, the coach of San Antonio, is going to be the coach," Buss said. "I kind of think Phil [Jackson] likes not being in first place so he can get the weekend off."

Jackson, who's coached four All-Star teams, has long made known his disdain for NBA All-Star weekend, so it wouldn't be surprising if he jokingly supported Buss' theory. After all, the only way he avoided coaching last year's team despite holding the conference's best record is that no one can coach in consecutive All-Star games.

A more serious contention from Buss came regarding the collective bargaining agreement that expires June 30. She expressed optimism to the Journal regarding avoiding a potential lockout (a sentiment she also shared in November with The Times' Lakers blog), and expressed openness to the idea of contracting the numbering of NBA teams, a sentiment that Commissioner David Stern and LeBron James have endorsed but Lakers guard and National Basketball Players Assn. President Derek Fisher has questioned.

"I would hate to see us lose teams, but I think contraction is something we have to consider," said Buss, who's spending her first year with the league's labor relations committee. "We may be in some markets we shouldn't be in."

Buss also had some sympathy for Kobe Bryant, considering he's steadily climbed up the NBA's all-time scoring list. Bryant currently is in ninth place with 26,895 points and is on a pace to surpass at least Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946), Elvin Hayes (27,313), Moses Malone (27,409) and Shaquille O'Neal (28,580) during this season and next.

"Every game, it seems like he's breaking a different milestone," Buss said of Bryant. And they've projected, the way he's playing, [that] by the time he retires he can be in the top five in scoring. Any time you lose games due to a labor issue, that means he doesn't get to play games. That would really, really break my heart."

As it would for Bryant, but for different reasons. When asked about the $750 million to $800 million owners are seeking in reduced player salaries, he told CBSSports.com in mid-November that "they need to make the right judgment themselves and stop trying to force us players to be the ones to make adjustments. They've got to look in the mirror and decide what they want to do with the sport, and we as employees will show up and do what we've got to do."

-- Mark Medina
Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

 
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"I hate to say this, but I think because they decide who's going to coach the All-Star team based on the standings on Jan. 30, so it looks like Gregg Popovich, the coach of San Antonio, is going to be the coach," Buss said. "I kind of think Phil [Jackson] likes not being in first place so he can get the weekend off."

As much as we ALL know that PJ hates All Star Games, to be the coach of the ASG West Conference Team, it is enough to have ONE MORE game than the Spurs in the losing column.

NOT 7.

Lame excuse.

As they say in the Corporate World: "Never play with the secretary"

Conflict of Interest?

Random Comics,

you wrote: the Corporate World: "Never play with the secretary"

my response: I thought it was Never get caught playing with the secretary.


my bad.

"Every game, it seems like he's breaking a different milestone," Buss said of Bryant. And they've projected, the way he's playing, [that] by the time he retires he can be in the top five in scoring. Any time you lose games due to a labor issue, that means he doesn't get to play games. That would really, really break my heart."

"That would really, really break my heart."

Really?

A few weeks ago, Dr. Buss said that Kobe Bryant deserves every penny he is paid. Because he PUT every year like 80 millions in REVENUES in HIS POCKET!

What did the Buss Family do between 2004 and 2008?

Invest in Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Cookie, Mo Evans, Luke Walton. (Gasol came in EX-CHANGE for Kwame - NO INVESTMENT)

What HYPOCRITES!

Dr. Buss knew that Kobe Bryant by himself will fill and sell out the Staples by himself with 81, 62/3qt, 5 x 50 points games and many 40+.

The Ballhog! LOL

Why bother?

He shows up. We can spend.

Is Jeannie Buss the Salome of the NBA?

@MVP – I’m with you. I understand most fans day to day frustration because we’ve witnessed the greatness of this team in 09 and 10. However, trying to make it to a 4th straight finals is no joke and we don’t know the physical or emotional toll its taking, therefore I’m being more lenient than I would be in other years.

@Frmkt – Ditto from 12:35pm.

@Triangular – wow Joe Caldwell…now that’s a name I haven’t heard of in awhile. Good question.

@LFICT – I think Kobe is still a really good defender when committed. As he gets older I think it’s harder for him to fulfill all of the offensive obligations and still be an elite defender.

my response: I thought it was Never get caught playing with the secretary.
my bad.

Posted by: hobbitmage | January 21, 2011 at 02:56 PM

LOL. Only if they are "caught" doing it in the HIGH CHAIR.

Jeanie Buss happens to be a brilliant businesswoman and a compassionate person. She's cares very much about Lakers fans, yet she's a shrewd negotiator as the VP of Business Relations with the Lakers since 1999. I read her book and I'm glad to see the levity she's brought to the table with some of the fan base in a quasi-panic mode.

That woman is an idiot.

lol@ ashley

That's just wrong, be nice.

lol hiphopcop? wtf? Listen to the interview. First, Kobe is the star employee, then it's Phil. And "everyone can relate to the 'family business'?" Really? Yes, we all work at places where the owner is banging one of the "star employees", thinks it perfectly normal but wonders "does Dad like my boyfriend? How do the other members of the family feel?" Clue: Dad (when he isn't doing who knows what with 21 year olds) must like him - he's paying him several million dollars to hang around. And then after this season, the party's over...and who will poor Jeanie be hooking up with next? After all, "you date people you meet at work." Perhaps the subject of her next coloring book...

Just got my copy of MAGIC & BIRD A Courtship of Rivals...Can't wait to watch it...over and over and over again...lol

The Association - Boston Celtics is on ESPN...I don't know if I should laugh or throw up...

Fred G. Sanford (talk about incognito...)
1. RESPONSE: You betcha.
2. Appearances can be deceiving. Remember how hard it was for her to get the job...no doubt she has adult supervision.
3. What I do is irrelevant. I'm not the one airing my life in the press. You live in a glass house, get ready for the stones, sunshine.
4. Check the First Amendment, it's a free country (ain't life grand.)
5. Get spellcheck.
6. Have a nice day!

@LEW
"Magic and Bird" is EXCELLENT!
I rented it and really enjoyed every single second of it. These guys were gladiators competing at the highest level on the hardwood.

Just think if every player on the Lakers, excluding Kobe of course, would play with as much passion and determination that Bird and Magic did EVERY SINGLE night.
These two were so very different in so many areas(upbringing, athleticism, etc.), but very similar in the way they approached the game.

Spot on Mr. Sanford... seems your polite and excellent comment hit a nerve with your opposition. Can dish it, can't take it. Or , to quote you again: "You just dumb, son. You just dumb."

And I was saying that waaay back a few months or so that I bet Phil would dog it to miss the ASG coaching... but I was tongue-in-cheeking... and it's pretty obvious Jeanie is as well. But fodder for the trolls baby, fodder for the trolls.

@Mclyne:

Totally agree. But I'll go one further. Imagine if everyone in THE LEAGUE played with as much intensity, passion and skill as Bird and Magic, how different the game would be. No where near as many boring games and definetly more consistently entertaining playoffs/finals. But as they say, you can't put the genie back in the bottle. Different times now. Folks were paid way less back in the day but still played hard because they wanted to be a winner. Now folks are paid more and play less hard (?!). I don't get it. I mean, Isiah Thomas played on a broken ankle in the Finals against us and still came up huge. Now, folks get time off for everything from a sore muscle to a hangnail.

thats what ur going with? really? alright good luck with that buddy. after the games we will c. and here is that thing u missed when u were out http://sportscomplainer.com the prof. says its some new sports drudge thing. ok ill tty after all the games..

I read the comments. I have not watched NBA basketball in a long time, however I did listen to one game while driving home from Vegas in June....guess to keep from falling asleep at the wheel because the Lakers announcer was good.......but no one can hold a candle to the Late Chick Hearn- he can make a boring basketball game exciting! Forget Joel Myers, he is like fingernails to a chalkboard.

I like the idea of contraction! The more teams a league has, the talent pool is thinned. I think the NBA has something like 30 teams, how about whittling it down to 21 or 22 and shave off 80 or so mediocre players. Eliminate the teams that can't fill their buildings!
Another way to make the games more exciting- less timeouts!!! Final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter takes about 20 minutes to play. BORING!!! With the media time outs, teams have enough timeouts to discuss plays that usually never gets played......One team time out per half and when you add the media time outs to that, you have enough coach to player discussions, we can see the game!

Maybe give a cash bonus to the player that does NOT have a tattoo! Most players nowadays sport so much body ink I think I am witnessing a drive-by art contest..Talk about Psychodelic man!!!!

Basketball is a great game! It was best when the sport had Mikan, Chamberlain, Baylor, Russell, Cousey, Robertson, Jabbar, Magic and Bird. Teams played team systems. Today, it's just the one man show (Kobe) and too much fluffy stuff like Lebron standing in front of the scorers table and tossing talcom powder into the sky to cheers. Players shuffling their moves when introduced, reminding me of a SoulTrain audition.....I understand the game needs a little showtime and some razzle dazzle I am all for that! I remember a caucasian, Bob Cousey, being the showman! Slam dunks, hell, Chamberlain would slam the ball through the hole and glare at the defender! Russell, man he was a bad man!!! One of the best!

Sorry for the rattling, but needed to get things off my chest!


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