HOLLYWOOD - APRIL 10: Publisher Hugh Hefner, Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, Playboy Playmates and a KCAL 9 News reporter pose to celebrate Hefner's 77th birthday April 10, 2003 at the Staples Center, Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Klein/Getty Images)
The Lakers’ pursuit of Dwight Howard this offseason was ultimately a failed one, and L.A.’s executive vice president Jeanie Buss thinks she knows why.
The Lakers no longer had their best weapon in Buss’ father, Dr. Jerry Buss, who died in February. During an interview with ESPNLA 710 on Thursday, Jeanie Buss said that if her father were still around, he might have been able to convince Howard to stick around in L.A.
“They would’ve probably had a better relationship if my dad hadn’t been sick. When it came time to try to convince Dwight to stay, we lost the best closer in the business in Dr. Buss.
“Putting up the billboard maybe wasn’t the right thing. But we maybe have to learn to do things differently because Dr. Buss isn’t here anymore. People said [of the billboards], ‘Oh, that’s not the Laker way.’ Well, the Laker way isn’t the same, because Dr. Buss isn’t here.”
Those billboards didn’t help, as Howard eventually decided to move on from the Lakers and join the Rockets after one season in L.A, a decision that Jeanie Buss is “disappointed” with.
“I’ve had a few people say, ‘You guys are better off without him.’ But do you know who those people are? People from other NBA teams, because they don’t want us to have that kind of talent,” she said. “I myself believed that you always want to hold on to talent. I was disappointed that Dwight chose to leave. Certainly he was well within his rights, with free agency. I just don’t agree with his decision.”
Now, Dr. Buss’ children are left with the task of bringing the Lakers back to championship contention without Howard at center.
Filed under: Cameron McDonough, Headlines, Los Angeles Lakers