Join us for a live discussion today at 11:30 a.m. when Times Lakers writer Mike Bresnahan and NBA writer Ben Bolch discuss the outlook for the two teams coming out of the All-Star break.
Update: Due to technical problems, the live event has been canceled. We will reschedule for another day. Our apologies for the inconvenience.
The Lakers will play their first game tonight since the passing of owner Jerry Buss. One of the big questions is just who will be in charge of the franchise now. As Times columnist Bill Plaschke wrote this week,
"The one-voice culture [running the Lakers] needs to continue. And, it's clear, that voice needs to belong to Jeanie Buss.
"This is not another rip job of Jimmy, a basketball novice who has been criticized for everything from his countless baseball caps to his three bad coaching choices. Jimmy has his father's strong beliefs and bold spirit, attributes that will desperately be needed by this organization in the coming months of change. But Jimmy has been around the team only for several years, and his relative inexperience is a poor complement to his stubbornness, which has led to several bad decisions.
"This is, instead, about the coronation of Jeanie, who has helped build the Lakers into a billion-dollar entity with her tough stance in boardrooms and soft touch with the fans. She has spent her adult life being groomed for this moment, following her father through many of his businesses. She now runs the entire Lakers business empire, doing everything from guiding top assistant Tim Harris in securing the landmark Time Warner Cable television deal to helping design the recent championship rings.
"More important than her vast Lakers knowledge is that she knows what she doesn't know. She knows she's not a basketball person. That's why Mitch Kupchak is there. She would give one of the league's best general managers the complete freedom to remake the Lakers in Jerry Buss' image.
"Yesterday was an empty day, I couldn't seem to find a place where I was comfortable," Kupchak said.
After the loss of the greatest owner in the history of professional sports, it could be a long while before Kupchak or any Lakers employee can return to that place. The ability to cite Jeanie Buss as their boss, without need for clarification, would be a good start."
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