Jeanie Buss felt betrayed by Lakers
Jeanie Buss, the chief of the Los Angeles Lakers' business operations and fiancee of Hall of Famer Phil Jackson, wrote in an upcoming update to her "Laker Girl" memoir that she felt the hiring of Mike D'Antoni as head coach last year instead of Jackson was "a betrayal."
Buss, in an excerpt published Sunday in the Los Angeles Times, wrote she felt she "got played," referring to the decision ultimately made by her brother Jim, which she has said took her and Jackson by surprise and had been an unsettling experience.
"Why did they have to do that?" Jeanie Buss wrote in the November edition of the book first published in 2010. "Why did Jim pull Phil back into the mix if he wasn't sincere about it? ...
"Phil wasn't looking for the job, and then he wasted 36 hours of his life preparing for it when they were never in a million years going to hire him anyway.
"How do you do that to your sister? How do you do that to Phil Jackson?"
Jim Buss, speaking to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne for a profile published earlier this month, said the hiring of D'Antoini was reflective of the wishes of their father, Jerry Buss, a longtime owner of the Lakers who died in February after an 18-month battle with cancer.
"We did the coaching search and interviews and fed him all the information," Jim Buss said. "And he said, 'This is who I want. D'Antoni's the man.' Knowing that in the future we had to rebuild, he felt that Phil was not a guy to rebuild. It's not fair to him. It was actually more of a respectful thought towards Phil."
But Jeanie questioned the need to lead Jackson on.
"After we went to bed, the house phone rang at 11:30," she wrote. "I heard Phil pick it up and say, 'Okay, alright. Okay.
"When he hung up, I asked him what that was about, and he said, 'Mitch called to tell me they've hired D'Antoni. He said that they feel given the personnel they have that D'Antoni is a better fit. He said they know they are going to take a bit of a PR hit, but he thinks it will blow over in a month.'
"'He said it will blow over in a month?' I repeated in disbelief."
Jeanie Buss acknowledged in the book that basketball decisions would be made by her brother and business decisions would be made by her. She also referred to the story that her father wanted D'Antoni because "he wanted to go back to playing Showtime basketball."
She added: "But there was only one Showtime, never to be replicated. My dad knew that."
She also said while she and her brother rarely discuss basketball, she wouldn't mind it.
"I want my brother to realize that I'm not the enemy," she wrote.