Jim Buss's declaration to turn the Lakers around or quit was as bold as it was unusual. In all my years of watching sports I have never heard of an owner who also was so involved in player operations making this kind of promise. There is danger there for him. Also possible danger for the team if he rushes to full fill his stated obligation.
While we all hope that in four years the Lakers will have a contender, nothing is guaranteed. Injuries, bad drafts, chemistry, whether free agents want to come all play a part. And will they be able to get a bonafide superstar, one of the best players in ball, which they will almost certainly need to be true contenders, either through the draft or free agency? There takes a lot of skill and yes, luck in building a contender. With a three or four year window of the promise, Buss leaves himself precious little room for error.
A few other thoughts: Will this affect how Buss does a rebuild? Will he find it safer to trade more draft picks, including this years, to get veterans here and try to contend fast? That is where danger may come to play for the team and it's future. If he goes for broke again, like with Howard and Nash, because he feels his promise now forces fast action and makes mistakes in doing so. Or will he take a patient approach that will most likely come very close to his self imposed deadline?
The other thing I wonder is will others in the organization hope he fails. Take Jeanie Buss for example. If she covets the job her brother now has, would she be happier to see him fail, and perhaps ascend to that position herself in four years, than see him succeed and be relegated to her current position for good?
And if Jim fails, would Jeanie be the one to take his spot? One assumes so. Or would it be Kupchak? Or given the failure in working with Jim to make the promise work, would Kupchak also be a causality and lose his job as well? Then would we be looking for replacements for both Buss and Mitch? If not Jeanie or Mitch, then maybe some else? Either way, with Mitch and Jim falling on their swords, that would be the biggest front office shake up in Lakers history since Dr. Buss bought the team.
Lastly, one also wonders if Jim would view a contender as something different than I our you would. I mean look at say New Jersey. If that was our team in four years, a similar team with similar capabilities, would Buss then view his goal as met? I don't consider New Jersey to be a true, honest to goodness title contender. In other words, sometimes, a contender is in the eye of the beholder, or perhaps in Buss's case, the owner.
A very bold, unusual statement by Jim Buss with plenty of possible ramifications to play out.
And because he set that deadline, and if he is true to his word, the clock starts ticking....right now.