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Jeanie Buss Breaks Down Who Does and Does Not Have Influence With the Los Angeles Lakers

By Stephen Douglas
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers
Houston Rockets v Los Angeles Lakers / Harry How/GettyImages
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The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off a very bad season, despite what you might have recently watched on television. Jeanie Buss, the president and owner of the Lakers, is not happy with how the last season went. Buss expressed this to Bill Plaschke in a recent interview where he explained just who and who is not influencing basketball operations.

Turns out there are a lot of hands in the LA cookie jar. And some people you've heard have their hands in there actually don't according to Buss. Here's a breakdown of who has input on the future of the organization.

Russell Westbrook

NO. “Having a conversation like that is premature. We have to now find the right coach to lead this team. Depending on the style of play that that coach wants to play, given the roster that we have, it all has to start to come together.”

Kurt Rambis

YES. "I know that there’s been some unfair criticism of Kurt Rambis,” she said. “I want to remind people, he’s been involved in the NBA for close to 40 years, that he has been a part of championship teams both as a player and assistant coach, he is someone I admire for his basketball knowledge.”

Linda Rambis

NO. “In terms of Linda Rambis, she does not have a role in the basketball department; her role is, as it’s been for the last almost 40 years, is as my advisor,” Buss said. “She and I have worked together for years and years and years. Why that has become an issue for people, I don’t understand.”

Phil Jackson

YES. “People see us around town, we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, whatever … it’s not anything romantic,” she said. “He’s somebody that knows this environment and knows the challenges I have and wants to see the Lakers successful, so he’s somebody I know doesn’t have any other agenda than for the Lakers to be successful, so he’s somebody that I can lean on.”

Magic Johnson

YES. “Bottom line, the Lakers are important to him and he wants the Lakers to win, and he wants the Lakers to be on top. I know that’s in his heart, and I trust him, and … my relationship with him is as good as it’s ever been.”

So is she relying on him again? “Absolutely,” she said.

LeBron James / Klutch Sports

YES, but NO. “Do they have final say? No. Are they running the team? No, no, not at all,” said Buss. “I am controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, I’m held accountable for every decision that’s made here.”

Rob Pelinka

YES, for now. Pelinka is apparently going to have at least one more shot to get it right, as Buss still fully supports Kobe Bryant’s former agent, who she put in place shortly after she fired her brother and Kupchak.

"In terms of basketball decisions, I have complete confidence in our front office, which is headed by Rob Pelinka,” she said. “He is a person that is extremely smart, extremely strategic, everything he does is thoughtful and with purpose. … I have complete confidence that he can put together a roster and find a coach that is going to get us back to where we belong.”

So it appears Buss is at least open to serious advice from about a half-dozen people, most of whom have no official ties to the organization at this point. Good luck to the team's next coach.

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