The Los Angeles Lakers are no strangers to drama and dysfunction and it can be difficult to remember what the franchise looked like before it won a title in 2020.
The 2018-19 season resembled their 2021-22 campaign as a lackluster roster led by LeBron James was unable to make it to the postseason. With the Lakers in a bad spot, Magic Johnson surprised the basketball world when he held an impromptu press conference and announced he would be stepping down as the team’s president of basketball operations.
It was a shock to everyone, and perhaps no one was thrown more for a loop than Jeanie Buss. Despite the abrupt departure, Buss said she is going to lean on Johnson’s advice this offseason, via Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times:
“It was a big surprise,” she acknowledged of Johnson’s spontaneous decision to quit and ensuing criticism of the team. “I appreciate his honesty, I kind of wish it was just a little bit different.”
However, she said, “I would never want him to stay in a job where he wasn’t happy.”
Furthermore, she said she knows how he really feels, saying, “Bottom line, the Lakers are important to him and he wants the Lakers to win, and he wants the Lakers to be on top. I know that’s in his heart, and I trust him, and … my relationship with him is as good as it’s ever been.”
So is she relying on him again? “Absolutely,” she said.
Buss has kept a close-knit circle when it comes to who she solicits advice from and with Johnson so ingrained in the franchise, it makes sense why she would continue to turn to him. Buss has previously said their relationship maintained intact and it seems that any hard feelings over the situation have subsided.
However, it may seem a little troubling that the Lakers have struggled so much while people like Johnson and even former head coach Phil Jackson remain in Buss’ ear. Time will tell if Buss can make good on her promise to turn the team around, and it will be interesting to see what the fallout looks like should it go awry.
LeBron James in good place with Jeanie Buss
The outside noise has only gotten louder when it comes to James’ happiness in Los Angeles. With James getting older, his window to win more championships is rapidly closing yet reports have James actually in a good place with Buss and believing they can be competitive should a few things break their way.
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