5. Quitting On Lamar Odom Once He Quit On The Lakers – Lamar Odom is a grown man so far be it for me to blame Jim Buss for the sulking manner in which LO walked away from the Lake Show. That said anyone that watched the NBA’s reigning sixth man of the year knew how valuable he was to the Lakers. But this is a business and the Lakers had a chance to improve by acquiring Chris Paul. Once that deal was approved then voided by Communist Stern the wheels officially came off of L.A.’s season. Odom was given a day to gather himself after his butt-hurt reaction to being traded without being informed by a source other than ESPN. So, how did Trust Fund Buss handle his first crisis? By letting Kupchak move Odom as quickly as possible in order to dump his salary. That haphazard move crippled the Lakers’ bench and any hopes they had of winning a title as nothing came back in return except a trade exception.
4. Hiring Mike D’Antoni – This one could easily end up being the biggest Buss up of the year. Time will tell on that one. What makes the hire so hideous (aside from how much the Lake Show has regressed in such a short period of time) is that D’Antoni’s strength is offense. No secrets there. What the Lakers were lacking was a defensive presence. That too was not a mystery. So why was D’Antoni viewed as such a perfect fit? Was it because he massively underachieved in New York and since his departure the Knicks have become a true contender? Perhaps it was how he never could get those fun-to-watch Suns playing at a championship level? Or was it because his name wasn’t Phil Jackson? Again, we’ll have to wait and see.
3. Firing Mike Brown – Buss insists he did his due diligence during his first coaching search. In the end it became pretty obvious that Brown got the job because he was willing to bend to whatever requests his delusional owner made of him. Ultimately all Brown’s shortcomings that were on display during his tenure in Cleveland came to fruition in Los Angeles. Buss was probably the only person surprised by that. What was shocking was the decision to fire Brown only five games into his second season. Clearly Brown was never the man for the job but how many teams go on to win a title with this type of turmoil? Buss gets credit for admitting a mistake but no props for further sabotaging an already lost season.
2. Hiring Mike Brown – You don’t have any worries of firing Brown if he doesn’t have the job in the first place. Many of us already knew what we were in store for once he got the gig. The many egos in the L.A. locker rook were going too much for Brown to contend with. His inability to coach offensive philosophies would lead Brown to rely far too heavily on the brilliance of Bryant. Most of all it was Brown’s track record of being inconsistent with his player rotations and his unwillingness to stand up to the superstars of this league that made his hiring a damning move long before he coached his first practice. But he said everything Buss wanted to hear and in the end stroking the owner’s ego is what led to this Buss up of D’Antoni proportions.
1. The Failed Flirtation with Phil Jackson – Perhaps no other instance has shown the true nature of the Jim Buss regime like the Phil Jackson Buss up. This one was Buss’d from the jump. The early season firing of Brown let the entire hoops world know how Buss’d the Lakers truly were. Perhaps hoping to prove to the world his ego could allow for Jackson to be employed by the Lakers again Buss reached out to Phil in hopes he might consider coming out of retirement for the chance at adding to his already legendary legacy. In the end Buss did as he does. By hiring D’Antoni at midnight on a Sunday this Buss up revealed all the cards he was willing to play. Buss never wanted Phil back and likely hoped he would say “thanks but no thanks” for the job offer. Instead Phil showed real interest, the fans reacted favorably and Buss was once again painted into a corner. But proving his ego trumps all Buss watched as false details of Phil’s demands came trickling out in the media giving him an easy excuse for choosing D’Antoni. If nothing else that saga showed what is really going on with all these Buss ups. Inexperience and ego are ruining the best franchise in the history of hoops.