There was a very interesting article in this weeks ESPN Magazine.
It focused on the recent set of power plays by Jim Buss against Mitch, then her retaliation and his last ditch attempt at a revanchist plot to regain the team.
Man, the story about what was going on, the motives and desperation here is so great it's like a Shakespeare play, only in real life.
Several things really caught my eye. Apparently Jim had bought large amounts of real estate soon after Dr. Buss died, the timing of course, till after the corpse was in the group predicates he never would have done so had his father still been alive.
Now what's really interesting is that none of these large, expensive properties are paid up. In other words, Jim owes money, lots of it. In his attempt at the coup to remove Jeanie from control, one the many tentacles spread in that deal was the Jim and his brother would be able to get and siphon large amounts of cash from the team. It's not to hard to connect the dots now, is it?
It was because he owes these large sums of money that Jeanie and her lawyers knew Jim would never take this case to court when she took it there, but would back down and slink away like the craven cur he is. Had this gone to court Jim's financial problems would have come front and center and his case ruined before it even started.
The factor that made Jeanie take finally take action was that Jim and Mitch, against her express wishes were trying to shop our young talent off, you know, Russell, Ingram, Randle and the others we hope become the future of this team. It's also not hard to see what was going on there too. It was all tied into Jim's desire to use the Lakers as his personal bank to finance real estate deals that are becoming financial problematic for him.
All this reminds of me of something the old mob used to do back in the day when they were strong and powerful. Whenever they could get a hold of a legitimate, good business they would work a scheme called the bust out.
How this worked was like like this: They would order tons of merchandise on that companies or stores credit line. Extend the credit to the max then ask for more credit and buy yet more goods. Then over the months they would sell that merchandise on the street for half price and just clean up on sales. The money of course didn't go to the store, but lined their own pockets.
Finally, months or even years later, when the creditors decided to come calling, the mob just went away, with all the cash, leaving the poor store owner with a destroyed dream, a huge debt and eviscerated credit.
And to me, that is something like what Jim and his brother, with the obvious compliance of our dear Mitch were working with the Lakers.
As someone who has been one of leading proponents of castigating this FO and demanding the firing of Mitch for over five years now, I certainly was a very happy Lakers fan when the axe finally fell on him and Jim.
I have said over and over that we had one of the worst FO's in sports and that Mitch was the worst GM in sports. I said it so many times here that people probably got sick of hearing it, lol.
But I have to admit, I didn't know the extent of what Jim and Mitch were doing. That they were not just incompetent, but were actually behaving like gangsters in their attempt to milk the team for money and in essence, bust out one of the most fabled franchises in American sports history.
What there were trying to do, and why they were attempting this was as audacious, venal and malicious as it gets. Had they succeeded, there is no telling what would have happened to this team and how low it could have gotten. Your imagination about how this could have ended is limitless.
Here is the article, if you wanted read something that will blow you away and scare the hell out of you, check it out.
http://www.espn.co.uk/nba/story/_/id/19 ... -franchise
As for Magic and Jeanie, well, I will wait to pass judgement on that. I appreciate what she did in ejected the gangsters Jim and Mitch, I still have doubts about our tandem of saviors.
Jeanie has not really impressed me yet. All she has done so far was agree to put Dwight Howard billboards up in LA and long for years to have incompetent, old Phil Jackson in charge of the team. Not exactly stirring stuff. Fortunately, since love has waned between her and the Zen Master, the Knicks will have to live with his 12 million dollar a year masquerade. Phil, you see, in his own more subtle way is just as big a bust out man as Jim and Mitch are.
As for Magic, my all time favorite Laker? In years of tweets he has struck as more of a 14 year old fan-cheerleader than the deep, thoughtful, calm type of person you need as a GM. He would go up and down like a kid, depending on the fortunes of the team. He was a huge proponent of the horrific Nash and Howard deals, until it all collapsed and suddenly he was critical of it. I remember.
His snap shot decree about bringing Kobe in, with the concomitant huge salary, just what we need, also struck me as childish. Bring in Kobe for what? Has he proven anything as a scout, an evaluator of talent, a negotiator? Kobe was one of the most incendiary, abrasive and selfish personalities in sports history. You want to bring this guy in to help the front office? Really?
That statement once again reminded me of the child Magic. I can just see him thinking, "Oh, I was the old legend and Kobe is the new one so we will pair up and bring the team back to greatness."
That is the kind of thinking a 14 year old kid has, you know, hey me and by best bud will join the high school team and lead them to greatness. That is not the cool, logical, realistic thinking of an adult.
So far, that offer to Kobe seems to have faded into the background. Maybe someone grabbed a hold of Magic and kind of told him what I have written here and asked him, do you really want this guy in the FO on a huge salary, with his ego? Do you really want to deal with what he would bring?
So while I am eternally grateful for Jeanie in getting rid of gangsters Buss and my eternal bete-noire Mitch Kupchak, that is only half the battle that needs to be won to revive our great franchise. The other half will have to play out for a few more years, then and only then will we truly know if Jeanie and Magic are up the the hardest part of the job which begins now.
Oh, and let's hope real hard that the lottery balls fall our way with that 45% chance to keep those two first round draft picks that are at stake. If we do, it will make things a whole lot easier, for us as fans and for Jeanie and Magic.