The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of their worst run in the history of the franchise. Even though things are beginning to look up, the team will likely miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, and the futures of Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak are in question.
One reason the Lakers struggled to maintain relevance over the years was their inability to attract another star player to team with Kobe Bryant. The major one who was almost brought in was Chris Paul, but of course, that trade was vetoed. Apparently, another issue that hurt the possibility of that deal was center Andrew Bynum.
According to Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, Buss refused to include Bynum in a Paul trade, despite his father’s requests:
“Using Bynum to get Paul, according to sources close to late owner Jerry Buss, was Buss’ initial request to his son, Jim, in 2011 […] It never happened, largely because of Jim Buss’ affection for Bynum, the player Jim saw as the diamond he’d unearthed (even though Lakers assistant general manager Ronnie Lester actually offered the first and strongest blessing).”
A much younger player with more potential than Gasol, a deal revolved around Bynum potentially would have been approved by the league as young talent was what they wanted most.
Another player many fans have lamented about the Lakers not signing is Miami Heat center, Hassan Whiteside. Apparently, it was Buss’ love for little-used reserve Robert Sacre that prevented that move via Ding:
“As the Lakers were filling out a training-camp roster in September 2014 after their latest free-agency failures, Whiteside took part in a group workout in front of management and new coach Byron Scott. Whiteside did very well, according to league sources.
However, Buss’ beloved Sacre making the team and filling a reserve center slot was, same as every other year, even more certain than the earth being round. Therefore, there was little reason to even invite Whiteside to camp.”
There is no denying that things certainly could be different for the Lakers had a couple of things gone differently. Players like Paul and Whiteside would have made a major impact, and the entire league would be changed, but unfortunately that just isn’t the case.
With Buss’ three-year timeline about to run out, it’s rumors like these that have many believing his days with the Lakers are numbered. Only time will tell if that turns out to be the case.