As the Lakers trudge towards their 3rd consecutive failed season, all can be traced back to the top. After Phil Jackson retired as head coach in 2011, Jim Buss had the opportunity to court Jerry Sloan, Rick Adelman or even Coach K.

Instead he fired any employee affiliated with Jackson and started a flurry of failed moves that has the Lakers – the laughing stock of the league.

1) Hired Mike Brown – Known as a pushover to LeBron James, Buss was impressed with his vision during his interview. Under Brown the Lakers reached the second round in the playoffs getting ousted by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Throughout the season, the Lakers looked disorganized and when the team got frustrated, they resorted to player-run strategies over Brown. Metta World Peace went on to say that season the team didn’t listen to Brown. With superstars, such as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, you need a strong leader and Brown didn’t fit the bill.

After acquiring Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the offseason, a winless preseason plus 1 – 4 start ended Brown’s helm as Head Coach.

2) Hired Mike D’Antoni – The infamous late night phone call to Phil Jackson notifying him the Lakers were not hiring him as head coach after they begged him for a meeting just a few days before signaled the demise of the franchise. D’Antoni was the worst possible fit for the team constructed. Known as a small ball prophet and poor communicator throughout his career, the Lakers core of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard underachieved like no other stacked team in NBA history.

D’Antoni’s recklessness drove Bryant into a career-ending Achilles’ injury. Gasol was severly misused living outside the paint. Howard refused to run pick and rolls and became the cancer of the locker room. Aside from the underwhelming performance that season, D’Antoni snarked at the media and tried public sarcasm to motivate his players.

After two failed seasons, he “resigned”, but the damage was done.

3) Didn’t Trade Dwight Howard – After the 2012-13 season Howard was a free agent which the Lakers had no chance of re-signing. As the most despised teammate, none of the Lakers came to his defense. If Jackson was the head coach, not D’Antoni, he would have sat Howard down, told him what he needed to do or threatened to trade him. The writing was on the wall during the first half of the season and the smart move would have been to trade Howard before the deadline.

Especially since across the hall, the Clippers were offering Blake Griffin and Eric Bledsoe for Howard (which the Lakers turned down). When Howard picked Houston over the Lakers it sent shockwaves throughout the NBA that L.A. was no longer a desired destination.

Yet the narrative should have read Jim Buss was overconfident Howard would stay and the Lakers got nothing in return.

4) Misused Pau Gasol – Lost in the Dwightmare and coaching drama was the disrespect of Gasol. Just a few years earlier the vetoed Chris Paul trade involving Gasol rubbed him the wrong way, yet he still handled it professionally.

D’Antoni poured salt in the wound by insulting Gasol in his 2nd game as head coach and wasting his talents by positioning him as a stretch five. Gasol told Bryant at the end of the 2014 season, he would love to finish his career with Bryant, but Lakers management disrespected him. Two seasons later Gasol has resurrected his career as an All-Star and averaging a double-double in his mid-30’s.

The Lakers actually offered Gasol more money than any other team, but he had taken enough from the Front Office. Consistently in trade rumors, Gasol spurned the Lakers because of Buss’ incompetence.

5) Hired Byron Scott – Scott was the popular move at the time given a horrible roster, yet the team played hard during his first season at the helm. This season is a different story. No one expected the Lakers to contend for a playoff spot, but to be in the race for last place is a joke. Between benching D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle to running absolutely nothing coherent on offense or defense the Lakers are hard to watch. What Scott did as a player on the Lakers has no resemblance as head coach.

His old school mentality has underdeveloped young talent and misused veterans such as starting Lou Williams and having Brandon Bass play the five spot. The only explanation for the lack of wins points to a collective effort by the franchise to keep the top three protected pick this summer.

Scott’s peers: Lionel Hollins, Kevin McHale, David Blatt and Jeff Hornacek were fired this season, but based on management’s response Scott is safe. There’s really no benefit firing Scott before the end of the season, yet it’s obvious he’s a terrible fit.

The following 5 examples are proof why Jim Buss must go. As long as he is in a leadership role, the Lakers will never rebuild.

What are you waiting for Jeanie?

About The Author

Author, blogger, speaker & die-hard Lakers fan

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