Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss made a difficult decision last season when she decided to part ways with her own brother, Jim Buss, who was serving as executive vice president of basketball operations, while also firing long-time general manager Mitch Kupchak.
Firing your own brother could not have been easy, and it could make things extremely awkward at family get-togethers.
But Jeanie did what was right for the organization, hiring Laker great Magic Johnson to take over as president of basketball operations and Rob Pelinka as general manager.
Jim still has an ownership stake in the Lakers though, and he was present at the team’s preseason opener Saturday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Honda Center. Among the people that were happy to see him there was head coach Luke Walton, who still believes Jim is a big part of the organization, via Bill Oram of the Southern California News Group:
Luke on Jim Buss showing up: "I love it. Jim's obviously one of the owners and a big part of the organization."
— Bill Oram (@billoram) October 1, 2017
Kupchak recently commented on the firing of him and Jim, saying he is not sure the true reason Jeanie decided to do it. But the fact of the matter is that both Jim and Kupchak made some key errors in their final few years leading the Lakers front office, including trading multiple first round picks for an aging Steve Nash and signing Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov to massive long-term contracts, tying up a lot of the team’s cap space for years to come.
The Lakers new front office was able to fix one of those errors as they unloaded Mozgov’s contract to the Brooklyn Nets in the D’Angelo Russell trade, but it remains to be seen what their plan for Deng is.