Lakers fans, the ones who go to games and sit in the nosebleeds or watch every game on television, not the ones who complain every time the team loses a few games and prattle on about Kobe Bryant being the be-all, end-all of basketball greatness, have to put up with a lot.
The truly dedicated fans have to deal with being hated by fans of other teams, being lumped in and stereotyped with a group of people who ride the bandwagon until the wheels start to squeak a bit, but they're repaid ten-fold with a great basketball team.
It's not exactly a struggle, they aren't Cubs fans, but they do have to put up with a lot. One thing that has reared its ugly head over the past week is that they have to deal with one of the most contrived, unpredictable owners in all of sports.
One day he'll come out and say a player like Andrew Bynum is untouchable, the next he's traded. One day he'll put a vote of confidence behind his head coach and the next (literally the very next day) he's fired.
There are quite a few things fans can put up with from an ownership group as long as the team is good, and by all means the Lakers do have a good team, they're just working all the kinks out early on in the season. However, there comes a point when it's time for fans to tell an owner that enough is enough, and it's time to
Jim Buss officially took control of the Lakers from his father Jerry during the coaching search that landed the Lakers Mike Brown. Not only was that a move that was lauded from the start, but it was criticized every step of the way before Buss finally broke down and fired Brown.
Not only was Jim a big part of the reason why Phil Jackson was run out of town in the first place, but he was also the one who decided that long-time Jackson assistant, and assumed front-runner for the job, Brian Shaw was passed over last year.
That was a Jim Buss decision 100 percent of the way, and not many people were happy about it.
A year later he had a chance to vindicate himself after firing Brown, and one of the guys at the head of the coach search happened to be Jackson.
Understandably, Jackson came into Buss' office for the interview with a list of demands. After being unceremoniously bashed by Buss in the past, it would be hard to walk back and work for the guy without getting some sort of satisfaction, that's just the way Jackson is.
Mitch Kupchak had Jackson as the only candidate, and it was pretty much presumed the interviews with Mike D'Antoni and Mike Dunleavy were plans "B" and "C" in case Jackson turned them down.
The world eagerly awaited Jackson's answer to the Lakers on Monday, but late Sunday as the Lakers were putting a beat-down on the Kings, Buss hired D'Antoni.
Jackson was ready to come back, he had his team of assistants ready to assemble and descend on Los Angeles in a coaching fury, the only thing left was for Buss to swallow his pride, meet half of Jackson's demands and shake his hand.
There's no doubt that Jackson wanted a lot. He wanted a say in player movement, plus he wanted some leeway in traveling with the team, both are more or less unheard of in the NBA, but for an 11-time NBA Champion surely some concessions can be made, right?
Jackson isn't blameless in this, it was a power grab on his part to ask for some of the things he asked for, but if Buss is too proud and egotistical to allow Jackson at least some form of say in the formation of his team, it's a slap in the face to Jackson, the team and most of all, the fans.
I'm not outright saying that the Lakers are going to fail under Mike D'Antoni, they've got a great shot of being excellent. The problem is the conditions under which D'Antoni was hired.
Jackson and D'Antoni are both very good coaches, and both would do well with this team, the only problem is that they would have the task of working under a guy who values his own pride over the team's success.
Now, as the Lakers spin machine rotates and tells the story that D'Antoni's offensive schemes make more sense (which they might) and that Jackson wanted too much (which he did), all we can do is sit back and watch as Buss keeps fans hostage with his fleeting ego clutching the future of this team, waiting to change things on a whim.
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