Lakers executive Jim Buss 'very disappointed' with end of season

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
The Los Angeles Lakers bombed out of the second round of the Western Conference playoffs for the second year in a row. On the bright side, at least they won one game in the series this time around.

But taking the 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder to five games instead of getting swept by the 2011 Dallas Mavericks isn't what the Lakers and their fans want to be about. They want rings, and that desire gets more urgent and emotional with every season as we count down the remaining years on All-Star guard Kobe Bryant's career.

Asked for his thoughts on the 2011-2012 season during a recent radio interview, Lakers executive Jim Buss -- son of owner Jerry -- said that the season didn't meet his expectations.

ESPNLA.com has the quotes.
“Me personally, I'm never happy unless we win our last game in the playoffs," Buss said in an interview on the "Mason & Ireland Show" on 710 ESPN Radio on Thursday. "I'm very disappointed in the season. I thought we were a better team than this, but you can look at it as this was the first year these guys have played together with this coach.

"There's a lot of things you can look at and build for the future and say they haven't had the time to gel like other teams. You watch San Antonio, they can play with their eyes closed because they know exactly where everybody is and what they're doing and what their quirks are. You see a team that sticks together like that and we didn't have that."
The disappointment began way before the Andrew Bynum incidents (ignoring coach Mike Brown during timeouts, jacking a 3-pointer, admitting he wasn't ready for a playoff game against the Denver Nuggets, etc.), way before the extended postseason looks at Bryant's 1-on-5 offense that reared its episodes, way before Pau Gasol disappeared again and way before Metta World Peace clocked James Harden with an elbow to the head.

The disappointment really began with the nixed Chris Paul trade, which set off a series of events -- including the departure of Lamar Odom and the retention of Gasol -- that left the capped-out Lakers unable to find another way to add the injection of starpower and dynamic backcourt leadership that Paul wound up bringing to the Clippers. The Ramon Sessions trade was a nice band-aid move, but it didn't wind up helping the Lakers compete against younger and more athletic teams as much as some had hoped.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement and its harder cap, harsher luxury tax penalties and reduced mid-level exception for taxpayers like the Lakers didn't help things either. Sure, the Lakers have limitless resources when it comes to roster construction, but they are now operating within a system that confines spending more than the previous one. They'll have to shed significant salary or swing an out-of-left-field blockbuster trade if they plan to rebuild on the fly.

The next step -- as it has been for months, if not years -- is to move Gasol. You know it, I know it and he seems to know it. The next step after that is to pray that Bynum fully commits himself to winning. Because if Bryant and Bynum aren't better aligned than they were this season, there is plenty of disappointment yet to come.
 
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