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Lakers owner Jeanie Buss: ‘When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs’

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss

EL SEGUNDO, CA - September 20: Jeanie Buss, CEO / Governor / Co-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, holds a new Lakers jersey as the Lakers host a 2021-2022 season kick-off event to unveil and announce a new global marketing partnership with Bibigo, which will appear on the Lakers jersey at the UCLA Health Training Center in El Segundo on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

General manager Rob Pelinka technically runs the Lakers’ front office. LeBron James/Anthony Davis/Klutch Sports have asserted power. Rambis, Linda Rambis, Phil Jackson and Magic Johnson – to the chagrin of many in Los Angeles – hold influence.

But Lakers owner Jeanie Buss wants to remind you the buck stops with her.

Buss, via Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times:

“I’m growing impatient just because we had the fourth-highest payroll in the league. … When you spend that kind of money on the luxury tax, you expect to go deep into the playoffs,” she told The Times. “So, yeah, it was gut-wrenching for me to go out on a limb like that and not get the results that we were looking for. … I’m not happy, I’m not satisfied.”
“We don’t like to be missing the playoffs, I understand the fans anger and frustration,” she said. “I’ve got to make it better.”

Fifth-highest payroll (behind the Warriors, Nets, Clippers and Bucks), but who’s counting?

Though Buss has spent big, not as big as she could have. A huge luxury-tax bill isn’t required for winning a championship, but it helps. The Lakers missed the postseason by only one game. Maybe Alex Caruso would’ve made the difference.

Maximum spending has been essential to keeping LeBron happy with both the Heat and Cavaliers. At times, he has shown more trust in the Lakers. But that has been wearing thin.

Really, exhausted patience is a theme within the Lakers.

Buss has regretted acting patiently in the past then acted harshly once her patience wore out. Though she expressed confidence Pelinka (and collaborating with the Rambii, Jackson and Johnson) to Plaschke, she isn’t trading LeBron. It’s hard to read these comments as anything other than a warning shot at Pelinka to fix this mess quickly.

Unfortunately for Pelinka, he has dug himself a big hole.