Jeanie Buss conducted an overthrow of Los Angeles Lakers basketball operations two weeks ago, removing Mitch Kupchak and her brother Jim Buss from power and installing Magic Johnson as head of basketball operations -- with Kobe Bryant’s former agent Rob Pelinka as his general manager. Now, it appears that Jeanie Buss’ own brothers are fighting back for control of the team:
Jeanie Buss has thwarted an effort by her brothers, Jim and Johnny, to oust her as the Lakers president and controlling owner as the behind the scenes battle for control of the franchise moved into the courtroom.
Attorneys for Jeanie Buss sought a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday to prevent the brothers from holding a meeting next week to elect a new board of directors for the team that didn’t include her.
In order to be the controlling owner, she has to be a director.
“This is no doubt the beginning and not the end of the game-playing,” Adam Streisand, the attorney for Jeanie Buss, told The Times. “They don’t have a legal leg to stand on. This is a legal strategy doomed for failure.”
This is going to get ugly. Both Johnny and Jim Buss had worked for the team, and this looks like an effort by Jim Buss to regain power. These are the siblings of a legendary owner, pursuing actions in court over the control of the team. The brothers withdrew their request in court Friday, but this could have wide-ranging impacts.
This is the first sign of a major fracture between the siblings, though obviously you would expect there to be hard feelings after Jeanie Buss removed Jim from power after his failure to meet the self-imposed deadline of two years to return the Lakers to the contender status their fans have grown accustomed to. Clearly, Jim Buss is not ready to give up control of the team his late father left to him, and the legacy of one of the greatest franchises in sports, despite a series of failures and the worst three-year stretch in franchise history.
Maybe this was a brief blip in the family, or maybe this could be the start of an all-out battle over the fate of the purple and gold. We’ll keep you updated.