For the first time since Magic Johnson’s abrupt resignation in April, Lakers team president and controlling owner Jeanie Buss made herself available to reporters at the NBA Awards Show on Tuesday and, naturally, there were a lot of questions for her.
Near the top of the list of questions was her relationship with Kurt and Linda Rambis, and their involvement with the team. Buss received heavy criticism in April for seemingly surrounding herself with people familiar to her instead of hiring an experienced, outside basketball executive to replace Johnson.
Despite this, Buss told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times that Kurt and Linda have the organization’s full support:
Since Johnson’s departure, many have speculated about the rise in power of Kurt and Linda Rambis. Linda Rambis has been Buss’ confidante and coworker for four decades. Kurt has had an on-again-off-again history with the organization and was hired last summer as an advisor. He was a major part of the Lakers’ coaching search.
“They’ve been part of the Lakers, surrounding me,” Buss said. “Linda Rambis and I have worked the exact same way for the last 30 years. Nothing’s changed but for whatever reason there’s things people want to hear about. They’re part of our team and they do a fantastic job.”
Buss’ allegiance to Kurt and Linda (or as they’ve become known, the “Rambii”) is less of an ordeal now that they’ve added more proven basketball minds to the front office like head coach Frank Vogel (who Kurt had a say in hiring) and his assistant coach Lionel Hollins, but their credentials could be called into question again this summer if the Lakers fail to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the right personnel.
The braintrust of Jeanie, Linda and Kurt are treading water right now, but given the amount of criticism that has surrounded their working relationship over the past few months, they’ll have little margin for error this offseason.