For every pro sports franchise, including those in the NBA, success starts at the top. Winning a championship takes much more than good, sound ownership, but without that all-important foundation, everything else crumbles.
To that end, Kobe Bryant didn't overstep his bounds entirely when, during a press conference to announce that he'd be shut down for the rest of the 2013-14 season, he implored the "Big Kahunas" of the Buss family to clear the air.
"You've got to start with Jim," Bryant said. "You've got to start with Jim and Jeanie (Buss), and how that relationship plays out. It starts there, and having clear direction and clear authority."
The Mamba's right: the team can't move forward unless/until its owners are on the same page.
Whether they'll ever get there depends on who you ask. To some, including B/R's Kevin Ding, the conflict between the most powerful of Dr. Buss' kin is nigh on intractable.
Make no mistake, they have regular meetings gathering all six Buss children for the family trust in charge of the Lakers, but Jeanie and Jim aren't much closer than when they weren't speaking before their father's death. Even though they're trying to work through it, the end game remains more likely to be one in and one out.
To others, including ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi, neither is at all likely to vacate his/her position within the organization.
Truth be told, this isn't really about Jim Buss. It's about Dr. Buss giving Jim personnel power. Jim is doing what his dad wanted him to do. Jim Buss isn't going to give up control of the team a year after his dad died and trusted him to make personnel decisions moving forward. Dr. Buss groomed Jim to run personnel for 15 years & groomed Jeanie to run business longer than that. That was always his plan for the team.”
If that is, indeed, the case, it'll be incumbent upon Jim to make nice with Jeanie, especially in light of his past conflicts with her fiancee (Phil Jackson), so that he can go about his business on the basketball side of the operation without concern that L.A.'s house of cards might come tumbling down from on high.