The fate of Jim Buss as Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers hangs in the balance as the team heads toward another disappointing end to a season. Buss’ self-imposed deadline is about to expire with no clear indication as to whether he’ll be retained at his current position.
The recent return of Magic Johnson to the Lakers organization makes Buss’ future that much bleaker. Johnson has publicly criticized Buss’ decision-making regarding moves made by the organization more than most over the years making this new working relationship awkward right out of the gate.
Although Magic has had no problem blasting Buss in the media during the team’s struggles, the part-owner is actually looking forward to working with the five-time NBA champion, and maintaining that working relationship for years to come, via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“I’m taking Magic at face value, that he’s here to help,” Jim Buss told ESPN. “He’s one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Who wouldn’t value his opinion? I’m excited to work with Magic for years to come.”
The evaluation process of the Lakers organization is still underway. Johnson has only just begun his efforts as Jeanie Buss’ advisor, and there’s still more than two months left in the season.
Buss could still be shown the door when it is all said and done for the Lakers in April. Although there have been some indications of Buss and Mitch Kupchak being potentially being safe, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they are ultimately let go when the time comes to make a decision.
There’s a lot of time left where anything can happen. The team, however, doesn’t seem to be changing its direction as the Lakers will almost certainly miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Whether a drastic move at the NBA trade deadline can or will be made to change the fortunes of Buss and Kupchak remains to be seen, but at this point, it is uncertain whether Johnson and the front office duo will be working side by side for many years to come.