Los Angeles Lakers controlling governor Jeanie Buss spoke to Mark Medina of NBA.com on July 14 and the 60-year-old talked about several topics, including her cryptic Kobe Bryant tweet and LeBron James.
On July 4, Buss sent out a tweet at one o’clock in the morning about Bryant, who tragically passed away in January 2020: “I miss KB. He would understand and explain everything that I’m not allowed to,” Buss tweeted. “Honestly he was the greatest Laker ever. He understood team over self. Meaning your rewards would come if you valued team goals over your own then everything would fall into place. All can reply.”
Many people around the NBA believed that Buss was taking a shot at James in her tweet about Bryant, who won five championships with the Lakers. However, she told Medina she wasn’t.
“No. It was that my heart was full of sadness,” Buss told Medina. “You look to people surrounding you that feel the same way to commiserate. That’s all it was. It wasn’t intended at anything other than I had sorrow in my heart and I was trying to lighten my load.”
Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported on the July 8 episode of “The Athletic NBA Show” that some members of the Lakers want to acquire Buddy Hield and Myles Turner from the Indiana Pacers instead of Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets even though James has reportedly made it clear behind the scenes he wants his former teammate. The timing of Buss’ tweet caused some fans and pundits to wonder if the Lakers owner was upset at James and his camp.
However, it appears that isn’t the case.
Buss on Her Relationship with James & Klutch Sports
Buss told Medina that James is “the most important voice on our team and our league.” The Lakers have missed the playoffs twice, lost in the first round once and won a championship since James joined the franchise in the summer of 2018 as an unrestricted free agent.
“He’s the highest profile player in the game right now, and he’s on our team,” Buss told Medina about James and Klutch Sports. “We’re one of the highest profile teams in the league. That’s what people see because he draws so much attention. But I have relationships with all the players and all the agents. It just seems people want to focus on that relationship. He’s the most important voice on our team and our league.”
James, who is eligible for a two-year, $97 million extension on August 4, averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists last season, showing zero signs of slowing down. However, the Lakers didn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament despite having James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, three players who will make the Hall of Fame one day.
Buss: Last Season Was a ‘Huge Disappointment’
Buss wasn’t happy with how the Lakers’ 2021-22 season went. The team won only 33 games after having the second-best preseason odds to win the championship.
“It was a huge disappointment,” Buss told Medina. “Certainly, the decisions that were made didn’t put us in a position to be better than we were the year before. The year before, we lost in the first round. It was disappointing.”
Frank Vogel was fired as head coach by the Lakers on April 11. Darvin Ham was hired as Vogel’s replacement on June 3 and Buss is looking forward to seeing Ham lead the organization.
“Darvin is a very impressive person and has powerful leadership,” Buss told Medina. “He was part of the Lakers’ organization a few years ago. I have always admired his work ethic as a player and as a coach. That’s what he is going to bring to this team.”