As soon as reports surfaced that the Phoenix Suns were sold for a daunting $4 billion, it became impossible to stymie speculation of what the Lakers would go for and whether a number exists that would convince Jeanie Buss and her five siblings to consider selling. In all likelihood, the Buss family values the Lakers more than even an open market, but given the direction of the franchise since Dr. Jerry Buss’ passing, fans can’t help but wonder.
To be absolutely clear, and Jeanie has made it abundantly so: the Lakers are unlikely to be put up for sale anytime soon. Current state of things notwithstanding, the six siblings spent an entire multi-part documentary outlining the lengths to which they’ll go to make their father proud. Selling the team he built, because it got hard doesn’t feel like the kind of decision that Dr. Buss would look down on with pride.
Still, just because it’s on all our minds, there are some scenarios that might get them to reconsider.
First and foremost, seeing as we’ve just seen the Clippers sell for $2 billion before the Suns fetched what they did Tuesday, and with the Warriors now reportedly being worth almost double that Suns number, if some multibillionaire makes an ungodly offer, the Buss family would have to listen. None of Johnny, Jim, Jeanie, Janie, Jesse or Joey have accumulated enough wealth to disregard an offer that could immediately make them all billionaires. At the end of the day, money talks.
The most direct path to the Lakers being for sale is John and Jim maintaining their sell vote from a few years ago, Jeanie growing tired of the scrutiny that she’s been under since taking over, and convincing Janie to flip her vote. While Jesse and Joey would likely be pretty peaved for never getting a chance to run the show, they’d be outvoted.
The next scenario is an interesting one and would take time to come to fruition. If Rob Pelinka continues to run things into the ground and isn’t relieved of his duties in the next five years (this season plus the four-year extension), or is let go and gets replaced by yet another one of Jeanie’s cronies, then perhaps Jesse and Joey might be done with waiting for a chance they don’t think will ever come. If they decide to join John and Jim in voting to sell, the decision would then be out of Jeanie and Janie’s hands.
Again, to be absolutely clear, there is nothing that would indicate any of this is anywhere close to happening. Yes, franchise evaluations continuing to skyrocket will naturally make fans wonder about what could be — especially if they’re frustrated by the nepotism and cronyism that has crippled the team they love. But the Lakers represent immense cultural and emotional capital to the Buss family and while everyone has a price, theirs is likely higher than anyone is willing to pay.
This week on a special Tuesday edition of “The Hook,” I spoke to Aaron Larsuel about how much we hate Tuesdays, the Lakers ever being put up for sale, what the Suns selling means for the Lakers under this leadership and how the Chicago Bulls dysfunction might affect this season.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.