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This has not been a good year for Jerry Buss.

Where should we start? Well, why not with the most recent developments. The latest trauma in La-La Land is over Kobe Bryant declaring that contrary to popular sports lore, he did not insist that Shaquille O'Neal be dispatched from the Lakers because the two superstars had irreconcilable creative differences.  Rather, Bryant says now, it was Buss who wanted Shaq out of town because he was just too darn expensive. All this time, Kobe contends, he has been suffering in stoic silence.  And, on top of that, if Buss can't get the team fixed, Kobe said he would just as soon be someplace else.

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This is just the latest in a string of Buss headaches in 2007 that include:

* The Lakers exiting in the first round of the NBA playoffs for the second straight year.

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* His daughter, Jeanie (a Lakers VP), criticizing his son, Jim (another Lakers VP), for criticizing the coach (her boyfriend), Phil Jackson.

* Bryant suggesting that Jerry West be repatriated to fix the broken kingdom.

* Buss being arrested this week on a suspected DUI.

* And, finally, failing to be included in this year's National Heads-up Poker Championship after busting out in the first round in the two previous years (in line with the performance of his basketball franchise).

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