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Is Jeanie Buss gaslighting Laker fans?

If Jeanie Buss is trying to engender empathy from Lakers fans, she’s not going about it the right way.

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Lakers announce new marketing partnership Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

After one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history, Lakers fans expect a sense of urgency from the team’s decision-makers. Fans are mad at how last season transpired, and the front office should be as well. If Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka are going to make public statements after the absolute tire fire that was 2021-22, they should be similarly enraged and promise changes.

And yet, the tone of the Lakers brass during this offseason has been incredibly measured, a trend that continued in Jeanie Buss’ latest interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic. It sounds like the Lakers are following the same front-office processes that got them into this mess. They’re still relying on the council of people like Magic Johnson and Phil Jackson even though Buss technically doesn’t make the basketball decisions and relating everything back to Kobe Bryant when LeBron James couldn’t be further from Bryant’s personality (and Russell Westbrook couldn’t be further from Bryant’s impact).

Buss is seemingly trying to assure the fanbase that better days are ahead, but it’s hard to believe in that viewpoint when in the next breath, she espouses the idea of Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook not just coexisting on the same team, but playing together. The reality of the current Lakers roster is that it is not a championship-worthy bunch, and yet, optimism prevails in all of Buss’ public statements.

On the one hand, it’s fine to project confidence, even in dire circumstances. But enough has gone wrong for the Lakers in the last year that no one is buying that hopefulness. Rather than sell a fantasy, might it be better for Buss and the Lakers to maintain radio silence until there’s actually good news to discuss?

This week on “I Love Basketball,” Raj and Sabreena got into all of Buss’ latest comments and what her motivation was for getting them on the public record. They also gave their first impressions of Patrick Beverley and speculated if Beverley’s acquisition gives the Lakers any leverage in eventually trying to move Westbrook.

You can listen to all that and more on our latest episode in the player embedded below, and to make sure you don’t miss a single one moving forward, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

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.