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Report: Jim Buss told people Lakers would sign Dwight Howard in 2013, Carmelo Anthony in 2014, Kevin Durant in 2016, Russell Westbrook in 2017…

Jim Buss

Jim Buss


Jim Buss promised to resign as executive vice president of basketball operations if the Lakers weren’t “contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship … in three to four years.”

What gave him the idea he can build a team that meets even the loosest interpretation of his pledge?

Apparently, blind optimism.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Jim told people that Carmelo Anthony was coming the next summer. He told people that Howard was staying the previous year.

He told people as soon as the Lakers’ recent season was winding down that Kevin Durant was coming this summer…with Russell Westbrook the next.

he has assured people the Lakers will make the playoffs before each of the past three worst seasons in franchise history.

he treats the concept of stepping down so cavalierly that he told someone before this season he would step down after it if the team didn’t make the playoffs…which he hasn’t after they didn’t.

Dwight Howard left the Lakers for the Rockets. Anthony re-signed with the Knicks. Durant won’t even meet with the Lakers. Westbrook… there’s still technically a chance Buss could be right about that.

The Lakers’ powerful brand and market gives them a chance at elite free agents, and they should leverage their opportunity. But they can’t be so convinced of luring those top free agents that they have no backup plan. Accidentally tanking isn’t a long-term recipe for success.

Maybe Buss has learned some lessons. Pursuing Hassan Whiteside is a logical plan, and he’s attainable. Whiteside isn’t the biggest star, but he’d fit with the rest of the young core (D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle) and upgrade the team’s talent.

But a young group wouldn’t match Buss’ stated timeline. Would he resign if the Lakers aren’t contending soon?

Telling people he’d resign with this year’s lottery appearance and then not is a strong sign to the contrary.