The Los Angeles Lakers are mired in one of the worst stretches in franchise history, and Jim Buss, the team’s Vice President of Basketball Operations, appears to be running out of time. Buss infamously promised to resign if he didn’t return the Lakers to contender status by the summer of 2017, and it appears that he will indeed fall short of that goal.
However, it appears that Buss is lowering the bar for success, according to a wide-ranging piece by Bill Oram of the Orange Country Register:
“If I feel that the strides have been made,” Jim Buss said, “and the team is going in a very positive – not just a positive direction – a very positive direction, I don’t see a switch happening.”
With it appearing that the Lakers will be extremely fortunate if they even sneak into the playoffs this season, it isn’t surprising that Buss’ definition of a passing grade may change.
He then went on to explain that he believes that the Lakers would be making a mistake to make such a move:
If the Lakers show progress, Buss said, and “the coach is happy with everything the front office is doing,” he does not expect he will be going anywhere. With those caveats, Buss reinforced his earlier point: “I think it would be a big mistake on the Lakers’ part to make any switches
Of course, just because Buss feels that progress rather than finish place will now determine his fate, that doesn’t necessarily mean that his sister, Lakers president Jeanie, will agree, and she will be the one to ultimately make the decision on whether or not the team needs to move in a new direction.
The Lakers have indeed amassed some intriguing young talent over the last few years, but despite a promising start to the 2016-2017 season, they have floundered recently. How the club plays down the stretch may ultimately be the determining factor in whether or not Jim remains in his role after July.