A lot has been made of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss’ comments earlier this year that it would “break her heart” if the team didn’t have a player representing them in the All-Star game next season when the exhibition returns to Los Angeles. Did those questions reflect the views of, or a mandate to, the front office? Would the Lakers really send out multiple pieces of their future in exchange for a player to represent them in the All-Star game?
So far, the answer has been no, and during her appearance on Rob Perez’s Periscope show, Buss made it sound like she wouldn’t want Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Robe Pelinka to do that anyway.
Perez asked Buss what she would change if she could go back in time and change one thing about the Lakers, and while she didn’t directly answer that question, her answer did give a potential window into the organization’s thought process:
"In terms of basketball I wouldn't say I know how to make basketball decisions, but I think from where I sit, the most important thing is that you keep your draft picks, you develop your players, you make a commitment to your coaching staff, you give them what they need to accomplish the goals that have been assigned to them."
That doesn’t sound like the answer of an executive who wants the Lakers to mortgage the future for short term gains. The draft pick comments part is especially interesting given that the Lakers have had to sweat over whether or not they would lose their first-round picks on lottery night for the last several years.
The Lakers are now instead acquiring draft picks, like they did in the Lou Williams trade that netted them the 28th overall pick at the trade deadline the team’s new practice facility would seem to indicate a focus on developing their players and no one can say Buss and company haven’t fully empowered Head Coach Luke Walton.
The Lakers appear to be on an upwards trajectory, and it sounds like Buss is willing to be patient while they take flight.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.