Saturday , Jun , 02 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant Saga Addressed By Jeannie Buss, A Laker Executive And Daughter Of Owner Jerry Buss

Want to know what’s up with the Lakers? … Read Jeannie Buss’ statement on all the drama with the purple-and-gold … She speaks on Kobe, Phil, and the future … Click here for this story and weigh in on her thoughts …

Jeanie Buss, a Laker front office executive, the daughter of team owner Jerry Buss, and girlfriend of coach Phil Jackson, released a statement on the last few days:

I think at the next NBA Board of Governors meetings I am going to suggest that we change the name of the “off” season because since the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs there has not been one day “off”!

The loss in the playoffs was hugely disappointing but not completely surprising. The Phoenix Suns were at full strength and unfortunately the Lakers were never 100% healthy. Injuries kept the team from playing the way the coaching staff envisioned during training camp so the Lakers potential was never fully realized.

That, in my opinion, has created the frustration that everyone feels around here. Yesterday was one of the worst days of my professional career next to the day Magic had to retire because of HIV, Shaq was traded and Rudy T. replaced Phil as coach. I have worked in sports for over 25 years and my experience is that tensions run high and words are spoken as an outlet for anger and dissatisfaction.

While it is clear that I have no input into basketball decisions, I have expressed my opinion to everyone I work with in this organization that Kobe Bryant CANNOT now or EVER be traded from the Lakers. Even thinking about it distresses me. My message is simple – he is not going anywhere. How can you trade Kobe when there is no equal to Kobe?

 A few weeks ago my brother was a featured guest on the Loose Cannons radio show airing on the Lakers home station, KLAC. He said some things that I didn’t agree with and I should have voiced my feelings to him in person as soon as I heard his comments. Coincidentally, I had committed weeks earlier to the same radio station to fill in for TJ Simers on the Fred Roggin / Simers Squared morning show a couple of days after my brother Jim’s interview. I was asked about Jim’s comments where he said the Lakers coaching staff didn’t know how to coach young players and that Golden State Warriors coach, Don Nelson, was a better defensive coach than Phil. I was protective of Phil because of my personal relationship which was not the professional thing to do. We both should have made our comments in private instead of voicing our opinions on the air. We have since discussed that very same thing and mutually decided to meet on a regular basis and not via the airwaves.

The last few hours here in the office have been quiet. I missed my dad’s telephone call before he got on a plane for China and will be gone almost a month. I will spend the next few weeks catching up on things – including reaching out to so many of our Lakers fans who have emailed and written to me. I want to thank you all for your support and keep the faith. It is a long “off” season but trust me – Lakers executives are working aggressively to return the team to championship form.

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