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March 22, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Within a four-month span, the feeling Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had toward the team's front office subtly changed. In December, Bryant criticized the Lakers for trading Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks, yet still gave the front office a vote of confidence at least for pursuing Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. In February, Bryant blasted the front office for leaving Pau Gasol in limbo and giving uncertain signals about the organization's direction. And in an appearance Thursday on 710 ESPN's Mason & Ireland, Bryant called executive Jim Buss a "great guy" and praised the Lakers for making "the right decisions.
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April 8, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
It could always be worse. The Lakers could have been pounded into a sad corner of team history with Dwight Howard in Houston's lineup. So they got hit with the next worst thing, losing to the Rockets without the injured Howard, 145-130, and clinching their most miserable win-loss record since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. With four games to go, the Lakers (25-53) already outdid the 1974-75 team that went 30-52. The Lakers keep seeking stability, a main reason team executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak recently sat down with Kobe Bryant for a clear-the-air meeting, The Times has learned.
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June 1, 2012 | By Mark Medina
--Lakers vice president of player personnel Jim Buss appeared on 710 ESPN's Mason & Ireland to express disappointment over the Lakers' 2011-12 season. -- The Orange County Register's Earl Bloom looks at free agents who could help the Lakers. -- Ball Don't Lie's Dan Devine expresses amusment over former Kentucky standout Anthony Davis saying he wants to shut down Kobe Bryant. -- ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky provides a report card for Pau Gasol.
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April 5, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
For more than a half century, few in this town have loved and lived the Lakers like Joe Smith. The former record mogul has four season seats on the baseline next to the Lakers bench. He has held those seats since the team arrived in Los Angeles. He has become as much of a fixture under the basket as the ballboys and Laker girls. No single ticket holder has endured longer, and certainly no single fan has invested more. For 54 years, Joe Smith has loved the Lakers graciously, gratefully and unconditionally.
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April 28, 2012 | By Mark Medina
-- ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin highlights Jim Buss' comments on 710 ESPN's Mason & Ireland that he has moved on from the NBA nixing the Chris Paul deal. -- The Times' Mike Bresnahan outlines the Lakers-Nuggets matchup. -- The Times' Ben Bolch looks at what makes Kobe Bryant a good closer. Bolch also previews first-round matchups . -- ESPN.com's J.A. Adande argues the Lakers need to slow down the pace against Denver. -- A panel of Ball Don't Lie writers predicts the Lakers will beat the Nuggets in six games.
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July 30, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Only a few months ago, Magic Johnson stared into an ESPN camera and offered a stern warning directed at one specific figure in the Lakers' front office. "Jim Buss, brother, you have a job to do," Johnson said. "I'm telling you right now because if you don't do it, you're going to hear from me. " Well, Buss has done his job. The Lakers acquired veteran elite point guard Steve Nash, a move General Manager Mitch Kupchak partly credited to Buss since he prodded Kupchak to pursue him even if it seemed unrealistic.
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June 26, 2012 | By Mark Medina
It may be hard to remember now, but at one point the Lakers viewed Pau Gasol as a savior. Once the Lakers acquired him in a trade in February 2008 from the Memphis Grizzlies, all sorts of reactions unfolded. The move immediately softened Kobe Bryant's frustration about the team lacking a championship roster. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson admitted skepticism that the Lakers could acquire Gasol for Kwame Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton, two first-round picks and the rights to Pau's brother Marc, whom the Lakers drafted with a second-round pick in 2007.
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August 23, 2012 | By Mark Medina
About two weeks after her father had surgery for undisclosed reasons, Lakers executive vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss said via Twitter that team owner Jerry Buss is "doing really well. " So well, in fact, that Jeanie Buss indicated that her father had a visit with Kobe Bryant. It's probably safe to say that both were gushing at the possibility of collecting another championship next year. Lakers spokesman John Black recently told The Times' Broderick Turner that Buss' Aug. 9 surgery went well and that he is expected to make a full recovery, but declined to discuss the procedure.
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August 15, 2012 | By Mark Medina
The Lakers entered the off-season with plenty of variables suggesting they wouldn't significantly upgrade their roster. They still remained the highest-spending team. They indicated they hoped to cut spending to prevent increased luxury taxes under the new labor deal. The Lakers had too many long-term contracts.  Many teams wouldn't find their bench players find desirable. Even executive Jim Buss told The Times' T.J. Simers not to expect major changes. Though no one with the Lakers felt satisfied with two consecutive playoff exits in the Western Conference semifinals, they still maintained that the current group could still win an NBA title after having a more thorough training camp.
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July 5, 2012 | By Mark Medina
Despite all the limited assets he conceded the Lakers had, General Manager Mitch Kupchak still let out hope last week that the Lakers could hit a "home run. " The organization is accustomed to success after winning 16 NBA titles. The Lakers refused to concede that their championship window had closed with their core roster. And even if the Lakers admitted there's more emphasis to keep costs down to avoid the more punitive tax penalties stemming from the new labor deal, they still insisted that wouldn't be distracted from their goal of upgrading the roster.
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March 24, 2014 | Bill Dwyre
For much of our adult lives, the Lakers have been the toast of the town. That's why the anguish is so understandable now that they are merely toast. But in the midst of all the noise, have we not missed some of the more salient points? Are we so engrossed in our need for instant gratification that we cannot look beyond the most recent tweet? Even as we dissect everything about the Lakers as if they were biology-class frogs, aren't we getting off track a bit? There is no intention here of being an apologist.
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March 21, 2014
How well will Phil Jackson do in New York? Quite well, I'm sure; after all, he has Jim Buss' cellphone number and a number of castoffs to send west. Lynn McGinnis Glendale :: How to become a millionaire? Just ask Jim Buss. He managed to turn a billion-dollar enterprise into a million-dollar one. Sam Austin Bermuda Dunes :: So the owner of the Knicks believes it is worth $60 million to have Phil Jackson watch the team lose for the next five years? Some might say even that amount isn't enough.
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March 20, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan and Eric Pincus
Here's the Lakers' newest nightmare development, other than the play-so-terribly-they-miss-playoffs one they're living now. It starts with plenty of money to spend on free agents. And there's a player or two who can change a franchise. But he's also being recruited by the New York Knicks. Phil Jackson vs. the Lakers? Could easily happen. It won't be in July unless the Lakers show a renewed interest in Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony should he opt out of his contract. But next year, when Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge could be available, the Knicks and Lakers will have plenty of money.
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March 19, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
Let there be no doubt. Jeanie Buss is the Lakers' most powerful executive. "Ultimately the buck stops with me," she said in an interview with Time Warner Cable SportsNet. "I'm president and governor of the team and I have empowered the basketball operations, the front office, to put together a basketball team, working within the confines of the collective-bargaining agreement. " She indicated why the Lakers gave Kobe Bryant a two-year, $48.5-million contract extension last November before he returned from a torn Achilles' tendon.
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March 19, 2014 | By Mike Bresnahan
The Lakers lost a game to the San Antonio Spurs, but it wasn't an entirely bad day for them. Kobe Bryant didn't throttle anybody when given the chance. He even showed some sympathy toward Coach Mike D'Antoni several hours before the Lakers lost to the Spurs, 125-109, Wednesday at Staples Center. Bryant was noncommittal when asked whether D'Antoni should return next season - "I don't know," he said on the Dan Patrick Show - but he acknowledged all the losing wasn't necessarily D'Antoni's fault.
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March 19, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
On Tuesday, the New York Knicks introduced Phil Jackson as president. Later that night, Jeanie Buss, the Lakers co-owner and executive who is Jackson's fiancée, said the Lakers didn't have a job for him. "He was not offered any official position," said Buss on " Access SportsNet " on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.  "There were a lot of Laker functions that Phil was with me, because he was there to support me in no official capacity....
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August 13, 2012 | By Mark Medina
The moment he hung up the phone Thursday, Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak stared across the room at Coach Mike Brown. Kupchak had just ended a conference call with officials of the Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers, the final chapter of what Kupchak described as a "frustrating" process in pursuing Dwight Howard. After all, the Magic spent over a year weighing every trade proposal imaginable, while Howard gave mixed signals on his intentions. Once that phone conversation ended, though, Howard became a Laker.
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November 15, 2012 | By Mike Bresnahan
Kobe Bryant heard what Magic Johnson said about Lakers Vice President Jim Buss. It wasn't kind. But Bryant said he's had no problem with the younger Buss. “[Johnson's] opinion is valued greater than most others because of what he's done here with this franchise. I can only speak from my perspective in my dealings with Jim. He's been phenomenal,” Bryant said. “He's seemingly made all the right choices. Going back in time, I'm sure he would have called me and consulted me on the Mike Brown hiring but that is what it is. Other than that, he's been behind some pretty good moves, some pretty good trades for this organization.” Johnson said Wednesday on Twitter he was “mourning” because the Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni, not Phil Jackson, to be their coach.
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March 19, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
Kobe Bryant deserves both his contract and a farewell tour as a Laker, according to owner/executive Jeanie Buss. "We never got an opportunity to do the farewell tour for Magic Johnson," Buss said on " Access SportsNet " via Time Warner Cable SportsNet. Early in the season, Bryant agreed to a two-year, $48.5-million contract extension. "Kobe, by signing that deal, will have played 20 years for one organization," said Buss.  "I guarantee that won't happen again. ... We don't draft players at 17 anymore.
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March 19, 2014 | By Eric Pincus
Kobe Bryant has sympathy for Coach Mike D'Antoni but isn't sure if the coach should return. When asked on Wednesday by Dan Patrick of the " Dan Patrick Show " if D'Antoni has earned another year with the team, Bryant answered with some ambivalence. "I don't know," said Bryant. "It's been tough on him. The two years that he's been here, he's been dealing with so many injuries left and right. He hasn't really gotten a fair deal, fair shake at it since he's been here. " D'Antoni has another fully guaranteed season on his contract.
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