The Los Angeles Lakers fan base was wildly disappointed by this season. The team was among the favorites to win the championships this year but couldn’t even earn a spot in the play-in tournament. Among the people most disappointed by the season is team owner Jeanie Buss.
She invested a lot of money into the roster and the Lakers had the fourth-highest payroll in the entire NBA. Buss has mostly held her tongue in the media while letting anonymous leaks do most of the work. She’s finally decided to break her silence to Bill Plaschke of The Los Angeles Times. She made it abundantly clear how unhappy she was with how the season played out.
“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league. … When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs,” Buss told The Los Angeles Times. “So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for. … I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”
Buss learned a harsh lesson that spending doesn’t always equate to wins. The neighboring Los Angeles Dodgers of the MLB have been among the teams with the highest payroll for years and have just one World Series title to show for it since 1988. Spending money can certainly help a team win games but it takes a lot more than deep pockets to win championships or else Steve Ballmer and the Clippers would have multiple titles right now.
ALL the latest Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Buss Willing to Make ‘Hard Decisions’
Buss inherited ownership of the Lakers from her father Jerry Buss, who died in 2013. Since his passing, the team has just three winning seasons and one championship. The team won 10 championships during Jerry Buss’ time as the owner. Buss understands that it’s her responsibility to set the Lakers up for success.
“We don’t like to be missing the playoffs, I understand the fans anger and frustration,” Buss said. “I’ve got to make it better.”
Buss has shown that she’s willing to make tough decisions when she fired her brother Jim Buss as head of basketball operations. She made it clear that she’s willing to make more tough decisions if she has to.
“Absolutely, if we are not living up to the Lakers standard, absolutely I will look at everything,” Buss said, later adding, “I will make the hard decisions, because that’s what you have to do.”
Buss Defends Rambis Family
One of the hottest button topics for the Lakers fan base this year was the involvement of Kurt and Linda Rambis in the front office. Their roles are unclear but they seem to hold a lot of power within the organization. Kurt Rambis was a championship-winning player with the Lakers but he hasn’t had success as a coach so many are left wondering why he is making basketball decisions. Buss clapped back at the notion that Rambis shouldn’t be helping with the basketball side of things.
“I know that there’s been some unfair criticism of Kurt Rambis,” Buss said. “I want to remind people, he’s been involved in the NBA for close to 40 years, that he has been a part of championship teams both as a player and assistant coach, he is someone I admire for his basketball knowledge.”
Linda Rambis is considered an advisor to Buss but it’s not clear what her day-to-day role is. Buss says that she doesn’t have any say over basketball matters.
“In terms of Linda Rambis, she does not have a role in the basketball department; her role is, as it’s been for the last almost 40 years, is as my advisor,” Buss said. “She and I have worked together for years and years and years. Why that has become an issue for people, I don’t understand.”
The Lakers are one of the biggest brands in sports but the way they operate is a bit odd. If the team doesn’t get back to their winning ways, more people will be questioning Buss’ ability to lead the franchise.