Buss has been pilloried for his personnel decisions and general stewardship of the teams since his father’s health began to wane. The departure of Dwight Howard seemed a glaring indictment of the Buss regime. The vultures around the league trumpeted his tenure as Dolan-esque and the end of the Lakers’ unprecedented success.
Not so fast.
With cap restrictions and a strong desire for flexibility going into the summer of 2014, Buss made the smart move of letting Howard walk without capitulating to a sign and trade. He took the criticism and retained his cap space. He simultaneously doubled down on his hire of Mike D’Antoni by assembling a roster of players that would fit his system. He has brought back an entertaining brand of basketball to a fan base that had increasingly endured joyless regular seasons on the promise of winning in May and June. To put forth a credible product with a roster of castoffs and aging stars is commendable. The fans have supported this team and enjoyed them. That is success. He has gained some credibility.