Monday, February 18, 2013
Buss family won't sell Lakers
By Arash Markazi
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Jerry Buss' children intend on carrying out their father's succession plan for the Los Angeles Lakers following the iconic owner's death Monday.
The plan, which was put in place years ago by Buss, calls for his daughter, Jeanie, to become the Lakers' governor and represent the team at the NBA board of governors meetings. She will also handle the business operations of the team.
Buss' son, Jim, will handle basketball operations of the team.
"The future of the organization will remain unchanged," Lakers spokesman John Black said Monday. "Dr. Buss set it up years in advance -- he planned for the team to remain with the family.
"For the past several years, Jim Buss has been running the basketball operations and working in conjunction with our general manager, Mitch Kupchak, and that will continue. Jeanie Buss has been running the business operations for 15 years, and that will continue. As far as the operation and running of the team, that will be unchanged."
Black and Buss family spokesman Bob Steiner also said Monday that the Buss family and the six children that now own the team have no plans on selling the Lakers.
"The family has no interest in ever selling the team," Black said. "The six of them agreed unanimously to keep the team in the family for generations to come."
Buss' controlling ownership of the team is now owned by a trust for the benefit of the six children, Black said, and the trust will be managed by Jeanie, Johnny and Jim Buss.
"The entity can't be split," Steiner said. "The heirs do not own the team individually. It is a collective."
Buss had not attended a Lakers game over the last two seasons as he had been in and out of the hospital for the past 18 months. The last game he attended was the Lakers' second-round series loss to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
"He was more and more giving responsibility to Jeanie and Jimmy in preparation for a complete passing of the torch, but major decisions were still his," Steiner said. "They are their father's children, and they knew and believed in the path that he had set and how he wanted things run and they were very well-trained in that. Jerry would not have ceded responsibility unless he was confident."
Steiner said the family appreciated the media not reporting on Buss' cancer and condition until it finally broke online last week.
"The family appreciates the media not going public with Jerry's medical condition and respecting his privacy," Steiner said. "When the story finally broke, Jerry was not cognizant of it."
There are plans to honor Buss before Wednesday's game against the Boston Celtics. The team also is planning a separate memorial service, possibly held at the Nokia Theatre across the street from Staples Center, this week or next week.
Buss continued to watch every Lakers game prior to his death. Steiner said Buss would often watch games with Jim, Jeanie, Joey and Jessie at his bedside.
Buss also was visited in the hospital by Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard among the Lakers' current players and former players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar last year. Buss, however, spent his final days with family members and loved ones.
"The family is doing fine," Steiner said. "It's a testament to his determination and will that he lasted this long. The family certainly knew for a while that his passing was imminent, so they've had a lot of time to get as used to it as you possibly can."