The Los Angeles Lakers organization has been surrounded by criticism for the last few years. The storied franchise has really struggled to bounce back following the failed attempts to reload with the likes of Dwight Howard and Steve Nash.
With neither Howard or Nash panning out for the Lakers, the headlines in Los Angeles are dominated by rumors and speculation about what the future holds for an organization. Although the team’s acquisitions over the last few years haven’t been as beneficial as expected, GM Mitch Kupchak isn’t the one receiving the bulk of the blame. That blame seems to be pointing in the direction of Jim Buss.
Kupchak recently talked about Buss receiving most of the blame for the current state of the franchise and wanted to reminded people that no move happens without his input, via Grantland.com:
“Unfortunately, Jim does get a lot of criticism. But no decision is made here without me,” Kupchak says. “If something doesn’t go right, I should be criticized as much as Jim. We are judged, by and large, by our success on the court, and that has to do with the draft, trades, and free agency, and Jim and I decide who we draft, who we trade, and who we pursue in free agency. In terms of talent on the court, by and large that falls with me, and I work very closely with Jim. But Jim trusts my instincts. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they are not good.”
Unfortunately for Buss, the finger will continue to be pointed in his direction until the franchise is able to get back to the winning ways of old. In one Buss’ most recent interviews, the Lakers executive of basketball operations said he’d step down if the franchise wasn’t back in contention in three or four years. Buss appears to be sticking by his promise, but the clock is ticking and many Lakers fans are keeping track.
With the team currently on the verge of ending a third straight disappointing season, the Lakers brass are facing an extremely important off-season. The team will likely have a high draft pick and will also attempt to be as active as possible in upgrading the roster in free agency.
There will be no lack of opportunity for Kupchak and Buss to take a few steps forward this summer. Landing a big-name in free agency while also bringing in a few promising rookies isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, but fan’s faith in the front office is wavering and patience has worn thin.[divide]