It’s been quite an eventful last year for the Los Angeles Lakers with a botched Russell Westbrook trade, a deplorable 2021-22 season and bubbling levels of toxicity surrounding the franchise.
Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has come under more fire than ever because of the team’s failures. She was criticized for the people she’s sought advice from, including Kurt Rambis and Phil Jackson. Buss also had to ensure the team is not for sale after it seemed some fans hoped it would be.
Missing the playoffs didn’t sit well with Laker fans and Buss heard it all. Figuring out what to do with Westbrook was a priority this offseason and in the midst of rumors swirling around a Kyrie Irving trade, Buss expressed how much she missed the late Kobe Bryant in a tweet.
Social media immediately assumed this was a shot about LeBron James’ leadership or Westbrook’s unwillingness to sacrifice last season. Buss shut that down and offered context behind the tweet in an interview with Mark Medina of NBA.com:
We’re getting ready to start promoting our 10-part docuseries on Hulu and we’re immersed in all things Lakers. There are so many people I miss. But the person I miss the most is Kobe. We miss his voice, his friendship and everything that was taken away from us when we lost him. What I know is Laker fans feel the same way I do.
So when I feel down like that, I know when I say something, the response that I get makes me feel not alone. That’s how a community comes together to grieve. This grieving process with losing Kobe will go on for the rest of my life. It’s a void that can never be filled and was never expected.
When Phil [Jackson] left to go to the Knicks, the NBA made us sign a letter because we’re on two different teams. He said, ‘This means I can’t help you anymore. But you always have Kobe. Kobe has your back. Talk to him if you ever need advice. You’ll always have Kobe.’ That’s what Phil said to me. So, the idea that we don’t always have Kobe is hard to accept.
Like many around the Lakers, Jeanie had an extremely close relationship with Kobe. Working on the upcoming Hulu documentary surely struck a chord with Buss — Bryant’s missing presence was evident in the first trailer.
For Buss though, she simply missed Bryant and hoped her tweet would resonate with fans, explaining that it was not meant as a shot at James:
No. It was that my heart was full of sadness. You look to people surrounding you that feel the same way to commiserate. That’s all it was. It wasn’t intended at anything other than I had sorrow in my heart and I was trying to lighten my load.
We feel you, Jeanie.
Utah Jazz making veteran players available in trades
As the NBA offseason carries on, the Lakers will remain active on the market. Finding consistent shooting is likely the goal now which might be found from a Western Conference team. It was reported that the Utah Jazz have made their veterans available in trades, including Patrick Beverly, who L.A. is interested in.
Beverly has been enemy no. 1 for Lakers fans and he may increase his villianous status since his 34.3% shooting from 3 last season doesn’t help the Purple and Gold’s problems. His grit and defensive prowess would help the Lakers though, if they were to acquire him.
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