With the death of Jerry Buss last week, it’s fair to wonder if the Los Angeles Lakers can remain … well, the Lakers.
Through all the stars, the championships and the Hollywood glamour, Buss has been the constant factor in the Lakers’ decades of success. He recently began relinquishing control of the day-to-day operations to his son, Jim, and the results haven’t been pretty.
It was Jim’s decision to hire Mike Brown last year, then Brown was promptly fired five games into the season. Jim was in charge of a roster that has woefully underachieved this season, leaving the Lakers in jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the second time in 18 years.
“The Lakers will never be the same,” Cavs coach Byron Scott said, referring to the aura Buss brought to the franchise. Scott is closer to Jeanie Buss than he is to Jim, with whom he doesn’t have much of a relationship. But he is confident the Buss family will try to keep the Lakers one of the league’s most famous teams.
Their aging roster, cap mess and now the loss of their patriarch, however, might mean curtains for Showtime.