Lakers need to speak now to bring the peace

By all accounts, the answer to that question is no. Buss, and by extension his son Jim, seem to completely support Kupchak.

Remember, it was Kupchak who loyally followed Buss' orders and traded O'Neal and never once complained. It is Kupchak who has represented the organization with calm throughout all the storms, protecting the owner while he's in Italy or at a poker table.

If Kupchak has the support of Jerry and Jim Buss, yet was still thrown under the bus by Bryant, that raises a third question.

Is the Buss family united in their stewardship of the Lakers?

There is some thought that Bryant would not dare be so publicly indignant without somebody watching his back. Could that person be Jackson, who lately has made a career of covering Bryant's back? And if that's the case, then wouldn't his girlfriend Jeanie also be in that camp?

So could the organization be split into two camps, two philosophies, Jerry and Jim versus Jeanie and Phil, the exact mess that Bryant was talking about?

Whatever their situation was before last weekend, the Buss' have been brought together now, united as the target for an angry superstar whose words are tugging at the enduring, endearing fabric they have spent their lives so carefully weaving.

Hey, Kobe, shut your yap, OK?

Jerry Buss, it's your turn.


Bill Plaschke can be reached at To read previous columns by Plaschke, go to


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