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Category: Jerry Buss

Kobe Bryant deserves better communication from Jim Buss


In the middle of the night, Kobe Bryant often sees something on film and texts Mike Brown a thought or a question.

The Lakers coach texts right back.

Moments after stewing about the Lakers trading Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, Bryant visited Mitch Kupchak's office. The general manager maintains the meeting remained jovial and involved more than just why the Lakers traded their most valuable reserve.

Soon after the Lakers' 103-92 victory Monday over the Portland Trail Blazers, Bryant spoke at an informal meeting. Just like they do during practice and games, his teammates' ears perked up.

Unfortunately for Bryant, executive Jim Buss hasn't extended the same courtesy. He didn't heed any of Bryant's suggestions during this offseason's coaching search for Phil Jackson's replacement. Buss didn't even alert him ahead of time the Lakers would hire Brown. The same can be said about Odom's departure, the franchise's direction and pretty much any imaginable topic. The silence has remained so rampant, Bryant revealed in an interview with the New York Post's Peter Vescey in December that he couldn't recall the last time he spoke with Buss.

It shouldn't be that way. That's why Magic Johnson suggested in a conference call that Buss should personally meet with Bryant, who "just wants to be informed as a leader and future Hall of Famer and a guy who has brought five championships to the Lakers."

"He wants more communication, probably like he did when [former coach] Phil Jackson was there and he worked well with Mitch," Johnson said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters. "I don't think Kobe feels he has that type of relationship or the communication has been there with Jim. What probably has to happen is they need to sit Kobe down and sit Jim down. Dr. [Jerry] Buss was the master at taking you to lunch or taking you to dinner and going over what he was thinking and what he wanted to do with the team. Jerry West was good at that as well. Kobe, Mitch and Jim just have to get on the same page and things will be OK."

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NBA lockout: Everyone's talking about the talks

Billy Hunter--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes that the NBA players union will meet Thursday in New York "to either provide a few details on upcoming negotiation strategy or to bridge a chasm of differences, depending on what you believe."

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick explores the relationship between Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter.'s Steve Aschburner focuses on the role the courts might play in the NBA lockout.'s Fran Blinebury goes through the lockout alphabet. 

--ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that Fisher, during a Tuesday night conference call with the union's executive committee, denied secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding praises Lamar Odom for becoming more focused and responsible after marrying Khloe Kardashian.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer criticizes Jerry Stackhouse for suggesting that more agents need to be involved in the lockout negotiations. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi talks to Jerry West, who says he wouldn't have been able to ensure that Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant would stay together on the Lakers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Stephen A. Smith argues that it's a good thing that Fisher is considering accepting a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Ben R. looks at some of the players the Lakers could pursue because of the amnesty clause. 

Tweet of the Day: "Once upon a time before 24/7 coverage & social media, NBA locked out its players. They came to a deal in Jan., played 50 games & it was fine" -- FisolaNYDN (New York Daily News' Frank Isola)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "What on earth is with this notion that the Lakers have the wherewithal to pursue Paul or Williams in free agency? How is that remotely possible? The Lakers aren't by any stretch of the imagination going to be major players in the free agent market for a long, long time with lots of money tied down in Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum and they'll almost certainly be capped out and paying the luxury tax for at least the next three or four years." -- Benjamin Rosales

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA Players Assn. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press

Lakers' Time Warner Cable deal shouldn't be held against them

LakersWith one pen stroke, the Lakers apparently drew a cloud over the NBA and the players union and their negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement.

The team's 20-year agreement with Time Warner Cable, starting next year, didn't just anger Lakers fans who only have access to network channels. The deal angered other NBA owners, who believe it gives the Purple & Gold another unfair advantage. The contract, which Times columnist Bill Plaschke reported could be worth as much as $3 billion, won't just enrich the Lakers. It may enrich the small-market owners, who believe that they're entitled to revenue sharing. 

"That Lakers TV deal scared the hell out of everybody," one league official told ESPN's Brian Windhorst. "Everyone thought there is no way to compete with that. Then everyone started thinking that it wasn't fair that they didn’t have to share it with the teams they're playing against."

The tension illustrates the fallacy behind the notion that revenue sharing would ensure competitive balance. TrueHoop's Tom Haberstroh provides an in-depth analysis indicating that smart spending and draft picks ensure a team's success more than competitive balance.

But the jealousy over the Lakers' television deal also points to what should be a misconception among some owners -- that they're entitled to such revenue without making the smart business moves and taking the risks that ultimately ensure such a lucrative deal.

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NBA lockout: Lakers owner Jerry Buss wants to make a deal

Lakers owner Jerry Buss, left, is eager to get the season underway since he has few revenue streams outside of basketball. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, center, and Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen are pushing for changes that they say will help small-market teams.

--The Times' Lance Pugmire, Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner surveyed front office executives, league officials, players, attorneys and others close to the game to get a sense of where the owners stand. Among their findings: Lakers owner Jerry Buss is a dove and that he has little revenue stream outside of basketball.

--The Times' Mike Downey gives a positive review to Jerry West's new autobiography.'s David Aldridge provides a detailed rundown of the NBA lockout, including an awesome Simpsons reference. 

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick criticizes the NBA for how it's handled the lockout. 

--The Orange County Register's Janis Carr talks to Matt Barnes at a charity event Saturday about the NBA lockout. 

--Fox Sports ranks Buss as the NBA's second best owner behind Dallas' Mark Cuban. Apparently winning one title means more than winning 10. 

--CBS Sports' Ben Golliver highlights the mess the NBA has made in trying to refute the notion that Blazers owner Paul Allen played a large role in ruining the momentum in Thursday's labor meeting. 

--Sheridan Hoops' Mark Heisler pokes fun at everything surrounding the NBA lockout and believes the season will still start on Dec. 1. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky travels to St. Louis to visit family and friends and realizes no one cares about the NBA lockout. 

--The Riverside Press Enterprise's David Lassen reports Mike Brown plans to add at least three more people to his coaching staff, including an assistant coach and two "player-development" guys.

--The Daily News' Elliott Teaford also details how Brown's kept busy this offseason.

--The Orange County Register's Randy Youngman takes a look at some of the excerpts from West's autobiography. 

--Forum Blue and Gold's Darius Soriano found a pretty cool Kobe Bryant montage in the video below:

Tweet of the Day: "Organizers of NBA stars global tour still scrambling this morning to get television distribution deal done, sources say ... Several players, Puerto Rico promoters, waiting for payments to be wired today. Tour may still happen, but typical cluster-you-know-what." -- WojYahooNBA(Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "The players have shown considerable flexibility in agreeing to a 4.5% collective pay cut and working out a number of smaller issues with the owners. By dragging out these negotiations, the owners are allowing their greed to cost them millions and millions of dollars. Somebody needs to save them from themselves." -- Michael Lichter

--Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers owner Jerry Buss, left, is eager to get the season underway since he has few revenue streams outside of basketball. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, center, and Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen are pushing for changes that they say will help small-market teams. CreditL: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images; Amy Sancetta / Associated Press; Ramin Talaie / Bloomberg.

Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw and Ronnie Lester have communication issues with Lakers' front office


They have had different roles and histories with the Lakers organization, but there's a common thread that's tied Kobe Bryant, Brian Shaw and Ronnie Lester together.

The commonality goes beyond the 13 combined NBA championships they won with the Lakers. It points recently to their frustration over the front office's apparent lack of communication over important issues. The examples prove to be wide-ranging.

Bryant reportedly has been upset that management apparently didn't consult him and give him a heads-up about the hiring of Mike Brown as coach. Shaw, formerly the top assistant on Phil Jackson's staff, wishes he'd been told directly by the team that he wasn't getting the head coaching job, instead of learning of it through media outlets. And Lester, a former assistant general manager for the Lakers, feels offended that they provided little information on the 20 or so Lakers staffers, including himself, who were let go after their contracts expired June 30 and the NBA imposed a lockout.

The circumstances are different, but these examples involving Bryant, Shaw and Lester reveal that some of their misgivings could've been minimized with a simple phone call and more respect. Below is a more detailed look at all three situations. 

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How much change should the Lakers make to their roster?


Whether the Lakers are coming off a championship season or under-performing in a shortened season, there's one thing that keeps fans unified and divided: trade talk. Unified because every fan wants to size up any trade scenario imaginable, wondering if that out-of-nowhere reserve that lighted up the Lakers in a regular-season game could produce more magic, or if the Lakers could land the next superstar. Divided because there is hardly ever any consensus.

I'll spend part of this offseason on a series that will analyze what effect free agents could have on the Lakers, and the feasibility of various potential deals. Those looking for significant changes are going to be disappointed. Lakers owner Jerry Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak have expressed their desire to keep the team's "core," wanting to only make "tweaks" to the lineup. The Lakers are coming off a season that included a $91-million payroll. And despite Magic Johnson's contention that Buss needs to "blow this team up" the Lakers aren't exactly scrubs, considering that before being swept by the Dallas Mavericks in this season's Western Conference semifinals, they had three consecutive NBA Finals appearances, earning two titles. 

After the jump, I'll look at the Lakers' roster and analyze how players may fit in next season. 

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Jerry Buss expresses appreciation for Shaquille O'Neal's presence with the Lakers

Shaquille O'Neal once, in the middle of a preseason game, famously yelled out to Lakers owner Jerry Buss to "pay me." Skeptical of O'Neal's injury history and his $30-million-a-year asking price, Buss traded him in 2004. And the immediate aftermath entailed Shaq taking swipes at Buss' preference for hanging out with twentysomethings.

But with Shaq announcing his retirement Wednesday, enough time and perspective has passed for Buss to express his appreciation for O'Neal's eight-year tenure with the Lakers, which included a three-peat from 1999-2002.

"Shaq had a long and amazing career, with a huge impact both on and off the court," Buss said in a statement released by the team. "His contributions were significant to the entire NBA, but we specifically appreciate what he did with and what he meant to the Lakers during his eight years with us. We have three championships that we wouldn't have won without him, and we will forever be grateful for his significant contributions to those teams.”

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Mike Brown brings enthusiasm to introductory press conference

Photo: From left to right, Jim Buss, Mike Brown, Jerry Buss and Mitch Kupchak at Brown's introductory news conference Tuesday. Credit: Lucy Nicholson / Reuters. Below are the highlights from the comments made by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Coach Mike Brown at Tuesday's news conference.

Kupchak's timeline on hiring Brown

--A week following the Lakers regular season, Kupchak said, the coaching search began.

--Kupchak said he interviewed "several" candidates informally and then interviewed three candidates, including Mike Brown, Brian Shaw and one unnamed (likely Rick Adelman).

Each interview with ownership lasted two to three hours and "were done in great detail."

Kupchak said the decision to hire Brown was partly based on the interview and his resume, including leading the Cavaliers to two Eastern Conference finals appearances, an NBA Finals appearance and being named league coach of the year (2008-09).

From Mike Brown

--Called the head coaching experience a "tremendous opportunity."

--Jerry Buss, Jim Buss and Lakers forward Matt Barnes were in attendance.

--"My goal is to continue the course and continue to help build upon the very strong championship foundation that has been laid here already. I have great respect for Phil Jackson and all his accomplishments. I don't know what size shoe he wears, but I'm not looking to fill his shoes."

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Caught in the Web: Reactions to Mike Brown being hired as Lakers coach

Photos: Former Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Brown. Credits, from top: Doug Pensinger / Getty Images; Mark Duncan, Associated Press; Tony Dejak / Associated Press -- The L.A. Times' Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner report the following nuggets surrounding the Lakers' choice of Mike Brown as the team's head coach: The decision to hire Brown was mostly made by Jim Buss, the team's executive vice president of player personnel  son of owner Jerry Buss; Brown's deal is expected to be worth $4.5 million a season over four years, including a team option, and many in the Lakers' front office were surprised by the hire.

Some more nuggets from Bresnahan and Turner: Brown may not sign a deal until early next week; Brown met Jim Buss on Saturday in Minneapolis and impressed him with a presentation about defensive schemes; people familiar with Kobe Bryant's thinking said he was still pondering the decision; Chuck Person has the best chance to be a part of Brown's coaching staff; and Jim Cleamons will likely interview with the Phoenix Suns to become their defensive coordinator.

-- The Times' Bill Plaschke argues Brown won't be a good fit for the Lakers.

-- The Times' Lisa Dillman details how Brown's arrival means the "demise of the triangle."

-- True Hoop's Henry Abbott explores the myths surrounding Brown. 

--'s David Aldridge explains the philosophy on defense that Brown will bring to the Lakers. 

-- Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick reports that Bryant was "surprised" by the Brown hire and that he was not a part of the decision-making process. 

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What a Lakers contract with fans might look like

Photo: Jerry West. Credit: Elise Amendola / Associated Press As a way to assuage fan concerns about the state of the franchise, new Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took a few concrete steps to show they're serious about winning.

First, much to the frustration of Lakers fans, the Warriors hired Jerry West in what will be an advisory role in the Warriors' management group. As West made clear to reporters, he wants to strike a balance -- not taking complete control of front-office decisions, but not being just a figurehead either. Second, the Warriors hired agent Bob Myers as the general-manager-in-waiting and have gone through an extensive search to replace Coach Keith Smart, including looking at Lakers assistant coaches Brian Shaw and Chuck Person as possibilities. And third, Golden State drafted a contract of promises for season-ticket holders, including a guarantee that the Warriors would make the 2012 playoffs, field at least one player in the 2012 NBA All-Star game, win at least 25 home games and offer a risk-free renewal with a 5%-interest-guarantee option for the 2011-2012 season. 

The Lakers aren't exactly in the same state of rebuilding as the team in the Bay Area, but they've also been going through a coaching search, possibly naming Mike Brown as Phil Jackson's successor. There are also certainly plenty of reasons the Lakers don't feel good about their 2010-2011 performance. Consider Jerry Buss' statement in an interview Tuesday with Michael Eaves and Bonnie-Jill Laflin on Sirius XM satellite radio about the Lakers' 122-86 Game 4 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals: "It was hard to come to a conclusion that any team could ever beat the Lakers. It was very disappointing and humiliating. But when you get slapped around like that, there’s a lot of resolve and teams come back fighting to get back on top."

Clearly, it wouldn't hurt if the Lakers wrote their own contract for next season. Sure, the Lakers aren't quite in the same disarray as the Warriors, who are trying to become a contending playoff team. But there are a few things that could be written in stone to ease the minds of not just season-ticket holders but all Lakers fans. Below the jump are a few of them -- some realistic, some wacky.

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