Jeanie Buss made news over the weekend for calling trade rumors reported by just about anyone who has any connections to the NBA whatsoever “fake news,” and apparently that wasn’t all she said.
“The biggest challenge…(is) the fake news about how we were supposedly trading our entire roster for a certain player, which is completely not true,” Buss, who was appearing on panel with Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck to discuss the Lakers-Celtics rivalry, said while avoiding saying the name of said superstar, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. “Those stories leak out, and it hurt our young players. It wasn’t fair. (Lakers president of basketball operations) *Magic (Johnson) got in front of that,* and I think we’re back on the right track. Hopefully that will allow us to make a playoff push coming up here.”
For those keeping track at home, right after Buss declared her Los Angeles Lakers back on track, they lost to the Phoenix Suns. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Another quick note: As I mentioned back when JaVale McGee called reporting on a confrontation that happened between veterans and Luke Walton “fake news,” this phrase only heightens how guilty one looks. The sooner those who use those two words together unironically realize this, the sooner that phrase can be banished from our lexicon, and we’ll be better off for it.
Alright though, back to this story. Buss’ retelling of the events sounds hunky-dory. It’s a pleasant story that ended with everyone being happily ever after, having learned and grown from the situation. Problem is: The reality flies in the face of her version of the events.
Sorry, but I just don’t believe that an entire industry’s worth of really good reporters (who also have ties back to the Lakers organization, by the way) just whiffed on the NBA’s biggest story this season. This is the most irritating utilization of that godawful phrase — where the person using it thinks by uttering those two words thinks that’s the end of the conversation and their version of “truth” is the only one that matters.
Rather than addressing some of the ways the Lakers might have erred in the process of attempting to acquire Anthony Davis, or looking for fixes to those issues, Buss is insulting our intelligence with this version of the events when we are well aware that a very different reality exists.
Where Buss miscalculates our ability to read the situation is with this idea that only the reporting of the situation was wrong. Let’s say she’s right and all those reporters who relayed the Lakers’ offers were given bad information and relayed it to their audiences anyway (a fireable offense, by the way). The fallout from Magic getting “in front of that” has been just as damning as the trade deadline itself.
Since Johnson flip-flopped from promising hugs for his guys to telling anyone who dared have empathy for those he considered mere trade assets and not human beings to stop “babying” them, the Lakers have gone 2-6 with multiple reports of a fractured locker room. So much for the fiery pep talk Buss seems to think went on.
So either Buss is basically lying to us with this retelling of the story, or she just doesn’t have any idea how things are actually going. If it’s the latter scenario and her explanation for the misunderstanding is that has her hands are completely off the basketball operations team, fine. That’s always been how she’s described how things would work.
Buss can’t have this both ways, though; where she claims that she trusts the front office she hired absolutely but also steps in as the last line of defense between Luke Walton and the unemployment line.
All around, this was a really bad look and a misguided attempt to direct attention away from an organization that has had any number of serious issues while under the microscope that comes with adding LeBron James to the roster.
It’s one thing to disappoint on the court with any number of explanations or excuses to point to. It’s quite another to do that while also insulting the intelligence of the very fans Buss and Johnson promised a return to glory to. Something isn’t “fake news” just because you don’t like it, or because it doesn’t benefit you. The sooner we all get away from the mindset, the better off our society will be.