Tag:Jim Buss
Posted on: December 7, 2011 8:33 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 11:01 pm
 

Jerry Buss hospitalized

By Matt Moore  

A Lakers team rep confirmed to TMZ  and the OC Register that owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized for blood clots in his leg. The representative told TMZ that it's believed to have been related to "excessive travel." 

The hospitalization caps off a tumultous week for the family after Buss' youngest son Jesse was arrested in Lexington, Kentucky for public intoxication. Meanwhile, his team has been in the process of pursuing trades with both New Orleans for Chris Paul, and Orlando for Dwight Howard.

Buss is 97 years old. It is widely believed that son Jim Buss is taking a larger role in the day-to-day operations of the Lakers, and that is his decision-making that will lead to a potential trade for CP3 or Howard or to build around Andrew Bynum.
Posted on: December 1, 2011 12:22 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 4:43 pm
 

The Bynum Dilemma



Ken Berger joined the Tim Brando Show on the CBS Sports Network Thursday to talk about the trade rumors that continue to swirl around Dwight Howard before his 2012 free agency. Berger says that Howard is interested in the Los Angeles Lakers should he choose to leave Orlando. Ken breaks down the scenario in the above video. But what stands in the way for L.A. is owner Jim Buss' favoritism towards Andrew Bynum. Should the Lakers surrender Bynum in order to win now with Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant? Is it time to give up on the Bynum experiment? The window is open for the Lakers. All that stands in their way is the Bynum Dilemma.

By Matt Moore
  

Jim Buss made the call to draft Andrew Bynum for the Los Angeles Lakers. As he has worked his way towards taking the reins from father Jerry in running the most successful (at least profit-wise) team in the National Basketball Association, one thing has been clear. Andrew Bynum is his guy. In May, Bynum was described as "untouchable" in trade talks by Yahoo Sports. Longtime Lakers scribe Roland Lazenby described how the younger Buss was setting up Bynum as the future of the franchise. It was thought that any talks of Dwight Howard following in Shaquille O'Neal's footsteps yet again by going from Orlando to Los Angeles, the kind of market his ego and commercial appeal craves, would be dashed by the Lakers' firm support of Bynum as the franchise of the future. 

But Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Wednesday night that all could be changing:
It's no surprise to anyone that the Lakers will be one of the primary suitors in a possible trade for Howard, and a person with knowledge of the team's strategy told CBSSports.com that executive Jim Buss finally has dropped his opposition to trading center Andrew Bynum "for the right deal." That's code for "a deal for Dwight Howard," and it's clear from those familiar with Howard's thinking that he'd like to join the Lakers. Bynum may or may not be on the Magic's list of suitable replacements for Howard in a potential deal that also would have to include young players on rookie contracts and draft picks. The Bucks' Andrew Bogut may be a better fit, a notion that has conjured speculation in the agent community of a three-team deal that would land Bynum in Milwaukee, Bogut in Orlando and Howard in L.A.
via Post-Ups: Free agency signing days away, but frenzy exists - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

And so the Lakers are faced with the Bynum Dilemma. Do you abandon the stud of the future (and more assets) to win now with the pieces you have from a two-time championship team? Do you give up Bynum when he's just 25? 

For years, Bynum has been talked about as being elite before his time. His potential has been there. The metrics to indicate his readiness has been there. But I've remained skeptical, wanting Bynum to establish himself as what he's talked about. There are too many question marks around Bynum, starting first and foremost with his injuries. Multiple knee surgeries in his early years leave an incomplete picture of his long-term health. More concerning than the injuries, though was his reaction to those injuries. He sought out his own doctors, took longer than expected each time with rehab, and was found to be partying his way through most of his recovery time. 

And yet, he was a huge part of why the Lakers won their second title, and a huge part of why the Lakers were still the favorites to win the West last year. He improved on both ends of the floor. If Greg Oden was the injured star young center whose defense was ahead of his offense, it was flipped with Bynum, and he started to show more at both ends. His aggressivenes took the form of a near-recklesness, including the time he accidentally gave Gerald Wallace a collapsed lung. Bynum has shown to be willing to give the hard foul, to use his body to intimidate other players. He gives Dwight Howard his toughest challenge outside of Kendrick Perkins and the Boston defense. 

But there's a flip side to that as well. His actions border upon dangerous, as evidenced by fouls given to Michaael Beasley and most notably a blatant cheap shot to J.J. Barea in the Mavs' sweep of L.A. leading to a suspension for Bynum to start the season. Dwight Howard racks up the technicals, and has been known to throw an elbow or four, but this kind of behavior is not his bag.

There's no question Howard is better right now. He's an MVP candidate, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, maybe the most influential player on the floor at both ends. But to acquire him, the Lakers would have to surrender the new head honcho's big project, his pet player, the icon of the next generation of Lakers greatness. They'd likely have to surrender more assets like picks (they won't use), and supporting players (they don't need).

However, this is the Lakers. They never seem to need the same things other teams need, like draft picks, cap space, or stockpiled talent. They simply find ways to reload based on the attractiveness of their market, the mystique of their logo, and the savvy of their management. Surrendering Bynum would be a hard pill to swallow for the son trying to make his own name, set his own legacy. But it could also lead to the Lakers extending the title contention of Kobe Bryant until he's 40, and render the luxury tax meant to withhold the Lakers' spending in the new CBA moot, between an even stronger popularity with Howard and their new television deal which pays them $5 billion over 25 years.

Also, it should be noted Bynum has just two more years left on his contract. In 2013, should the answer as to whether Bynum will ever fulfill his promise still have a mixed answer, the Lakers would be looking at a max contract (as they already set that precedent for him with his last deal) for a 27-year-old with the same litany of issues as currently. If the next two years are his rise to dominance, great. If not, the Lakers will have wasted a shot at Dwight Howard's prime and be forced to weigh the answer as to whether and what to play Bynum.

So the answer to the Bynum dilemma is this: the tantalizing potential does not equal the assurance of dominance now. Bynum has million-dollar athleticism, on bad wheels with faulty operating software. Jim Buss may want to make his own name with his own path, but he would do well to remember what has always made the Lakers great. Demanding excellence, now and always.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:46 am
 

Report: Lakers want Chris Paul AND Dwight Howard



By Matt Moore
 


The Los Angeles Lakers have a championship core. This same group of players were responsible for two out of the past three titles, and even without the services of Phil Jackson, there's every reason to believe that this team as-is can win another title with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum as its engine. But what comes after? The Lakers have begun looking to the future. They don't just want to stay competitive towards the end of Kobe Bryant's career, they want to transition seamlessly into their next phase of dominance.

And that means acquiring one of the big free agents in 2012, Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. Except they don't want one of those two. They reportedly want both.

From Mark Heisler, who covered the Lakers as a beat writer before taking up with SheridanHoops.com:
When the NBA couldn’t get a full ban on sign-and-trades, it left his Lakers in position to pull off a coup they’re dreaming of, which would make signing LeBron James pale by comparison.

If Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wind up on the market — a safe assumption as far as I’m concerned — the Lakers could offer Andrew Bynum for Dwight and Pau Gasol for CP3, or vice versa.

Nothing says that they will be enough to land either player, but it should put the Lakers in the running for both.

Oh, and Dwight likes the Lakers. Asked which All-Star he would most like to play with last season, he answered “Kobe Bryant.”
via Lakers will look to acquire Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.

Just to review. We just had a five-month lockout because teams were upset about large market teams acquiring multiple stars, scavenging small markets and leaving them with nothing. And the Los Angeles Lakers and their 17 professional basketball championships are aiming for both Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Glad we lost those 16 games over this.

There are a large numbrer of reasons why this is unlikely to happen. For starters, Chris Paul reportedly has New York as his first choice. Secondly, the biggest advantage the Lakers have is the assets to trade for Paul which the Knicks don't have. But the new CBA does have one new stipulation to prevent such dealings, the extend-and-trade adjustments. While sign-and-trade restrictions don't take effect until 2013, early reports indicate that extend-and-trade restrictions are immediate. The changes say that the same setup that Carmelo Anthony used to get his way to New York and get the extra year on his deal via Bird Rights is different.

The changes to the CBA suggest that teams that extend-and-trade a player can only extend him for three, versus the maximum four-year extension or five year re-sign he gets for staying with the home team. The only way around that is a six-month waiting period. The Hornets could re-sign Paul to the full Bird rights extension and then trade him, but they would have to wait six months. But a more likely scenario would see the following scenario: the Lakers can trade for Paul in the final year of his contract and then extend him, but that must be done after six months. Which means, they have to acquire him six months prior to his free agency beginning on July 1. Which means they have to acquire him by... January 1. With a season starting on the 25th. Not exactly a lot of time to pull that off.

All of these elements are in place for Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams (should the Nets just give up for some reason) as well.



The most likely scenario involves Paul entering free agency, and then signing a four year contract with Los Angeles or New York. But if the Lakers were to acquire Paul prior to free agency, it would give them an extra year to offer Paul, and it's hard to imagine him passing that up. Max contracts with bird-rights are five years, as opposed to the four-year counting option-year of an extension.

But if the Lakers want to acquire either player (or both, if we like fantasies), then they're going to need to trade some of that core. Specifically, Jim Buss would have to give up on his pet project, Andrew Bynum. Lamar Odom and pieces might be able to acquire Chris Paul, but there's no sense in bringing in Howard and pairing him with Bynum. Either playing power forward would be clunky and awkward. Where this leaves Pau Gasol is yet to be seen.

Hornets fans have to love all this. LOVE IT.
Posted on: July 24, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Former exec Ronnie Lester blasts Lakers, Jim Buss

Posted by Ben Golliverjim-buss

Is Los Angeles Lakers VP Jim Buss the least respected executive in the NBA?

That's a question we have to ask as the list of people who have gone public to criticize him continues to grow longer and longer.

First, there was a flap over new coach Mike Brown, which ended with Buss essentially apologizing to Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant for not consulting with him on the hire. Then, long-time and well-respected assistant coach Brian Shaw, who was a top candidate to replace Phil Jackson, took the unusual step of blasting Buss on a radio interview for his treatment during the hiring process.

But this tops it all.

Former Lakers Assistant GM Ronnie Lester was one of many casualties of the recent decision by the Lakers to not renew contracts or to lay off employees during the lockout. 

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Lester takes shots at the organization and Buss in particular.
"You think of the Lakers and you think they are a great organization," Lester said. "But if you work inside the organization, it's only a perception of being a great organization. It's probably not a great organization, because great organizations don't treat their personnel like they've done."

"Jim Buss is not around much," Lester said. "The only time he is here consistently is a week or two before the draft."
In NBA executive circles, respect is achieved in one of three ways. You're either 1) a former player, in which case it's given to you until you prove yourself to be incompetent, or 2) a rags-to-riches story who rises through an organization through determination and hard work before executing solid trades and drafts to establish your reputation, or 3) you're the direct relative of the team's owner, in which case you better make friendly with everyone and hire good basketball people that you trust to make the decisions, and then let them make the decisions.    

Unlike Nick Arison, the son of the owner who was recently promoted to CEO of the Miami Heat, who is seen as a hard-working fresh face who understands that president Pat Riley must call the shots, Buss has now been accused of two major internal crimes. One: he sloppily ran a coaching hire, trumping the authority of his long-time GM and communicating so poorly throughout the process that he got put on blast by Shaw. Two: he made these decisions while being largely an absentee manager. This is heading the wrong direction, and it's heading there quickly.

Lester's charge is perhaps even more damning than Shaw's. NBA executive circles are just as tight-lipped as coaching circles, if not more so. To speak out against one's own organization can be viewed as a death sentence, not only with that team but around the league. That Lester would bother to take that risk, when he certainly doesn't have to, shows how strongly he feels the Lakers were in the wrong here. Really, he's almost achieving a whistle-blower status, pulling back the veil on some organizational unprofessionalism. 

And who bears the brunt of that burden? Jim Buss, of course. As with any executive that's being charged with making rookie mistakes and faux pas, I guess we have to ask whether Buss even realizes that he's messing up. How many more distraught interviews with former employees will it take for Buss to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with his approach?

The NBA is the ultimate bridge-building world and Buss is busy shooting more fireballs than the Mario Brothers.

Posted on: July 17, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 6:46 am
 

Brian Shaw peeved at Lakers VP Jim Buss

Former Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw is upset by the treatment he received from his former team. Posted by Ben Golliver. brian-shaw

Turns out Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant wasn't the only one who was a little bit worked up over his team's coaching search, which eventually ended with Mike Brown taking the reins from a retiring Phil Jackson. Back in May, you might remember, Bryant expressed surprise that Brown had been named head coach and Lakers VP Jim Buss ended up admitting that Bryant should have been more included in the process. 

This past weekend, former Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw also took exception to how the process went down. Shaw, a candidate for the head coaching job and the preferred choice of Bryant and other Lakers veterans, said in a radio interview transcribed by ESPNLA.com that he discovered that Brown had beaten him out by watching television rather than hearing directly from the Lakers.
"I wasn't really told anything," said Shaw, who had the public backing of players Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher, among others, to take over for Jackson. "Unfortunately, I found about not getting the job and who was hired for the job on ESPN. I didn't really talk to anyone for about three weeks after that."
Shaw has every right to expect the utmost respect from the Lakers. Not only was he popular among the players, he had served the organization for more than a decade and been a part of five title-winning teams. In the interview, Shaw expressed frustration not only with how he found out that he hadn't landed the job, but also the tone of the search and the lack of communication between himself and upper management.
"At that point, all the speculation and what I've heard, the powers making those decisions felt like the team needed a change of culture and a new voice, and head in a new direction," Shaw said. "I thought that was kind of peculiar because in the 12 years I'd been there, all we had done was gone to the championship seven times and won five championships. I felt like there were 29 other teams in the league that would love to have that kind of culture and that kind of direction. ... But I didn't expect anything to be handed to me." 

"For whatever reason, there was a glitch in communication. ... I've always had a great relationship and open line of communication with (general manager) Mitch Kupchak so I don't think it came from there," Shaw said. "We've always been on good terms and are still on good terms. I understand in his position there's only so much that he can do even. He has people over his head that he has to follow directions. ... Definitely there's some room for improvement in terms of how ... people are dealt with."
Shaw then added that there "wasn't really much of a relationship" between himself and Jim Buss, who was prominently involved in the coaching search. 

It's no surprise that Shaw is feeling some sour grapes. While he might not have thought the job would be handed to him, he certainly had to feel like he was the favorite with every possible homecourt advantage. To lose the job of your dreams and the fruits of your labors is a devastating blow; to get blindsided in the process obviously only made that worse.

As we've noted before, the NBA coaching ranks is one of the most discreet professions in any industry anywhere. Job security is so low and the carousel moves so quickly that you will rarely hear coaches speak up about anything other than a show of support for their head coach or some minute X-and-Os discussion before, during or after a game. Otherwise, mum's the word. For Shaw to be this open, direct and honest in his appraisal of Buss shows that he truly feels he was wronged.

That's something to worry about, again, for Lakers fans. Good management is not messing up and then apologizing after the fact. Or messing up and hoping no one says anything publicly. Good management is anticipating problems so you have time to prevent them, conducting things by the book, and treating those in the industry by the industry's standards. Clearly, Jim Buss never made things right with Shaw or Shaw would not be airing these grievances publicly. 

The stakes here aren't enormous. We're just talking about a former assistant coach. The coaching search is complete and a solid candidate was named. But conduct during free agency pursuits, trade talks, contract negotiations and the like is of paramount importance. If Jim Buss left Bryant surprised and Shaw peeved during a coaching search, you can't help but wonder who will be next to point the finger at him. 

The silver lining: Shaw landed on his feet with an associate head coaching position with the Indiana Pacers.
Posted on: May 28, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 6:07 pm
 

Buss: Kobe should have been consulted on coach

Lakers VP Jim Buss admits that Kobe Bryant should have been consulted on the team's coaching search. Posted by Ben Golliver. kobe-bryant

It's not even June, and the Los Angeles Lakers are already making a mess out of their summer.

This week, the team hired Mike Brown to coach the team. It was a somewhat controversial hire but not an altogether terrible one. The messy part wasn't the result; it was the process and the aftermath. 

During the search process, Lakers owner Jerry Buss specifically said that no Lakers players would be consulted regarding the search. The Los Angeles Times quoted him to that effect.
"We really don't consult the players on these matters," Buss said. "Obviously, we have to select somebody who has a reputation that players would be happy with. But to ask a direct player to select a particular coach, that's general manager territory."
OK, fine, if that's your team policy, whatever. It's a strange policy to have when Kobe Bryant, one of the best and certainly the most headstrong player in the NBA is the face of your franchise, but if that's your policy, by all means go with it.

Of course, once Brown's hiring was announced, Bryant offered a "no comment" and was said to be "surprised" by the hire. Was Bryant a bit peeved by this slight? Of course. Anyone in his position would be.

The decision to select Brown as the Lakers next coach has been widely attributed to Jim Buss, Lakers VP and son of the owner. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times on Saturday, Jim Buss does a 180 degree flip less than one week after the hiring was announced, admitting that Bryant should have been consulted during the process.
"Looking back on it, we should have contacted Kobe," Buss says. "Kobe said it was management's job to pick a coach. He just said, 'Defense first.' That's what we were doing, but we should have reached out to him."
Yeah, of course the Lakers should have reached out to Bryant. The only reason not to do so was is if the Lakers firmly and truly believed in their "no players consulted" stance. If they did, there should not be any backtracking. If it's so important that it's black and white, there should be no gray area hedging after the fact. 

Just put yourself in Bryant's shoes. You've busted your butt for more than a decade. You've brought home five rings. You're entering the final chapter of your career. You've earned every last shred of respect a player can earn in the NBA. After all of that, you're then informed that you will be left out of the process. Once the process is completed, you're told that you should have been consulted. But the hiring has been completed, of course, and there's no going back. You're stuck with the guy that you weren't asked about, whether you like it or not.

If you're Bryant, how else do you read this situation except for butt-covering lip service? If Lakers management truly wanted to show respect, they could have reached out. If they truly didn't care, they have no reason to apologize or backtrack. If they don't know what they are doing or simply can't keep their story straight ... well, then they do what they just did. 

By admitting this mistake so quickly and readily, Jim Buss totally undercuts this management team's credibility and makes a bad situation even more complicated. No one wins here: Bryant feels disrespected, Brown walks into an unnecessarily tense scene without first having Bryant's support, Lakers management looks like it's on different pages, and Jim Buss looks either weak, inconsistent or indecisive. 

Like I said, what a mess.

Posted on: May 26, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Lakers VP thinks Andrew Bynum is untouchable?

Los Angeles Lakers vice president Jim Buss believes center Andrew Bynum is untradeable. Posted by Ben Golliver. andrew-bynum

The Los Angeles Lakers have selected Mike Brown to be their next head coach, guard Kobe Bryant and his teammates weren't consulted and the process is said to have been led by Lakers vice president Jim Buss, the son of owner Jerry Buss.

Whenver there's change at a key position like head coach, the waters start to feel a bit choppy. That goes double when there's a new voice taking on an enhanced role in the front office. While the Lakers will begin getting acquainted with Brown, Lakers fans are left to study up on Jim Buss, who until now hasn't seemed like a major player in the organization.

Yahoo! Sports reportsthat we do know one thing about him: he remains deadset on holding onto Lakers center Andrew Bynum.
Now, Jim Buss has two guys in the franchise: Brown and Andrew Bynum. In fact, Buss has made something clear within the Lakers, sources say: Bynum is untouchable in trade talks.

For now, this could include a sign-and-deal for the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard. The Lakers are Howard’s preference, but they don’t have salary cap space to sign him. They’ll need a deal that includes Bynum to the Magic, but there are those seriously doubting Jim Buss’ desire to make such a trade. After all, Bynum was Jim Buss’ discovery, his pet project and believes Bynum will ultimately resonate as the son’s personal Lakers legacy.

Buss’ loyalty will be Bynum and Brown. These are his guys now.
There was an identical refrain during rumored trade talks with the Denver Nuggets prior to the deadline. There was word of a Bynum-for-Carmelo Anthony trade for quite some time before Anthony was eventually shipped to the New York Knicks. That deal reportedly never got off the ground because of Jim Buss' loyalty to Bynum.

Is this unmitigated loyalty misplaced? Yes.

Personal ties should never drive roster decisions. Sure, they can be a factor -- even a major factor -- but in weighing options but they never should be a deal-breaker. 

In Bynum, the Lakers have arguably the second best center in the league. They also have a big man, locked into a long-term contract, who is ready, willing and able to shoulder more of the offensive burden. He says the right things about playing defense and protects the rim well. He's a mismatch problem for the vast, vast majority of NBA teams.

Of course, the negatives are clear too: He's a hothead, as evidenced by his evisceration of J.J. Barea in the playoffs. He's a bit moody and still a touch immature. And, most importantly, he has a long history of injury issues.

Bynum played very well down the stretch of this season and his salary going foward -- $14.9 million next season and $16.1 million in 2012-2013 -- is fair given the rarity of his skills and size. 

Should that make him untradeable? Especially if Howard -- who has better numbers and a solid track record of winning -- is available? No way.
Posted on: May 25, 2011 6:19 pm
Edited on: May 25, 2011 7:41 pm
 

Lakers' decisions reflect a season of change

The Lakers' front office is taking on a new direction under Jerry Buss' son, Jim Buss. Changes are happening all over the NBA, and the Lakers are no exception. Will a new course of action lead to the old standard of championships for the purple and gold? 

Posted by Matt Moore




The Celtics and Lakers? Gone from the secound round with only a single win between them. The Spurs? Closed out in the first round by Memphis (Memphis!).  Derrick Rose won the MVP at 22 years of age, Kevin Durant was the scoring champion and both of them made the Conference Finals. Those Conference Finals? They featured exactly zero of the following: Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, or Steve Nash (or Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, or Carmelo Anthony, but don't interupt me, I'm rolling). 

Things are changing in the NBA. There's a lockout on the horizon which will dramatically shift the course of how business is done in the league, new superpowers are taking shape as an era of collaborative superstardom takes hold, and LeBron James is clutch. It's a terrifying new world out there. 

And right in line with those changes is what we've seen from the Los Angeles Lakers both in their dismal collapse to end their chance at a three-peat and  in their decision to hire Mike Brown as their new head coach after Phil Jackson rode off into the peyote sunset. 

Let's begin with a story reviewing the coaching search process five days ago on May 19th in the Los Angeles Times

The Lakers were once the managerial gold standard, with Jerry Buss' vision and Jerry West as in-house legend and basketball boss of bosses.

Now Buss defers largely to his son Jim, who, let's hope, checks with West's protege, Kupchak.

Not surprisingly, given Jim's inclinations — remember bringing Rudy Tomjanovich out of retirement as the game's highest-paid coach in 2004? — this started as a star search.
via Coach selection, and the Lakers' future, is in owners' hands - Los Angeles Times.

Where once Jerry Buss, the most influential owner of the past thirty plus years, handled the mechanics of keeping the Lakers high-powered star factory pumping out championship gold for Buss to enjoy while he wrapped his arms around his younger friends, now the son is trying to establish himself as "the man in charge." The younger Buss has been the key decision maker for a while, but this represents more than just a "business as usual" handling of the Lakers' day-to-day operations or short-term evaluations.  The change here is not just one of replacing a Hall of Fame coach with a respected, though resume-questionable coach. It's a move away in a systemic approach.

Consider that Brian Shaw is right there. A nice, safe continuation of the success the Lakers have enjoyed over the past four seasons. The Triangle offense, the familiarity with the players, the cool comfort of continuity. And Jim Buss completely swerved away from all of that. Rick Adelman was right there. The coach with the best resume, the best track record, a similar offensive approach as the Lakers have been operating under. A star-worthy coach for a franchise that has always accepted nothing but the best. And Jim Buss and Kupchak elected to pass over the best coach on the market.

The reasons will be myriad as to why this was a good hire, but nothing as forthright and easy to point to as defense. Dallas shot the lights out to put the Lakers underground, so the tactical response is to bring in a defensive general to fortify the paint. The offense will sort itself out, right? Except this isn't a team with great natural chemistry and ball movement offensively. It never has been. Kobe Bryant has always been the tiger trying to bust out of the Triangle's cage. Yes, Pau Gasol operated well in the corner system but how will he respond to having to freelance more and make more decisions with increased pressure after this season's epic collapse. Is a looser construct really what's going to be best for Ron Artest, he who Staples screams "No!" whenever he pauses to consider a three? And at its core, do you want Bryant, who continues to show signs of the inevitable downslide of aging and a stubborn refusal to adapt his game, or his field goal attempts, accordingly, free to do as he pleases? 

But then, Bryant in particular is of note in this story. Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated reported on Wednesday:
 
The source close to the Lakers told SI.com that Kobe Bryant was "surprised" by the news of the team's interest in Brown late Tuesday, and that he was not a part of the decision-making process. Bryant had been a staunch supporter of Lakers assistant Brian Shaw for the position.

via Lakers name Mike Brown new head coach - Sam Amick - SI.com.

The star, the Hall of Famer, the next statue, and he's not consulted on the coach that will be in charge for his final years, presumably? That's a deviation from the standard, and a slap in the face. The Lakers shouldn't require Kobe Bryant's permission, approval, or support to hire Mike Brown. But to not even factor that into the decision making?

There's a clear step being made here by Jim Buss to head away from the last few years which saw Jackson, while dating Buss' sister Jeanie, running the show from high atop the special chair. Not hiring Shaw, not consulting Bryant, signing Brown to a four-year deal which guarantees Brown will be around at least through two more years (anything more is too much salary to surrender in dead money in the event of a firing). There's a very clear indication that Jim Buss is trying to make a statement of his own and show that his vision is just as good, if different from his father's. 

You'd almost wonder if he hasn't been incepted, or something, with this series of decisions.

Is Mike Brown a good coach? Absolutely. In Atlanta (yes, this is assuming a coach who had the Bulls offer him everything but Derrick Rose in the way of a chance to win is fired eventually), he would have been great. In Houston, he would have taken a talented veteran group and overachieved with defense. In Golden State, even, he likely would have given them the defensive personality to make the playoffs. His defensive chops cannot be questioned. But this is a coach who could not contain LeBron James. Granted, no one can, but that was a player with no real reason to believe he knew better. What's going to happen when Brown walks into a wary room of veterans who have won two championships with arguably the greatest coach of all time and who now are being told to listen to the guy who "couldn't win with LeBron" as ridiculous as that accusation is?

The Lakers are moving forward. There's new management at the top. There's new coaching on the sideline. But the roster remains the same, a versatile, talented, if boneheaded group of stars trying to fit together in the greatest reality show on Earth. And Mike Brown just moved into Crazy Town. We'll see if all this change means a move towards the tradition the Lakers value most: championships. 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com