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Lakers president Jeanie Buss on the franchise’s current quagmire and future seasons

Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss stops by the KPCC studios to talk with host Patt Morrison on Wednesday, May 14.
Los Angeles Lakers president Jeanie Buss stops by the KPCC studios to talk with host Patt Morrison on Wednesday, May 14.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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After a disappointing 2013-14 season, the Lakers were supposed to be a title contender again. The team got a new head coach in Lakers veteran Byron Scott and brought in a supporting cast including Jeremy Lin, Nick Young and Jordan Hill to back up a healthy and rested Kobe Bryant. But injuries continue to find a way to plague the team. The Lakers’ supposed torchbearer, Julius Randle, is sitting out the entire season after breaking his leg early on. And guard Steve Nash is still sidelined from recurring nerve damage in his back. The Lakers are 6-16 so far this season.

On Tuesday, at an event in New York City, Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson told reporters "I hope the Lakers lose every game, because if you're going to lose, lose. And I'm serious." Later that day, Magic took to Twitter and clarified his comments, saying "Laker Nation: Today in NY, I said I hope the Lakers don't win too many games because I want them to have the 1st or 2nd pick in the draft."

AirTalk asked Lakers part-owner and president Jeanie Buss on Thursday what her response to those comments was. You can hear Jeanie Buss' response by clicking the 'play' button above and going to the 3:00 mark of the audio.

"I was really disappointed in that and I got a message....I haven't spoken directly to Magic but I got a message to him and I ask him how would he feel if he was on the team, if he was on a team that someone who's close to the team and a legend, you know, of the game said something about a team that he was a player on, and in great Magic Johnson fashion, his reply was "If I was playing for that team, they wouldn't be losing." So there wouldn't have to be this conversation, so that's true Magic style, and we've got a player like Magic in Kobe Bryant, meaning that there is no chance that Kobe isn't going to do everything that he can do to make sure that the Lakers have every opportunity to win. We have a coach in Byron Scott who knows how to win and isn't going to settle for anything less than winning. So I think even though Magic's intention might have been good, I think he's read the situation completely wrong and I don't think that there's any player on this team, or coach, that would accept losing."

The team lost to the New Orleans Pelicans earlier in the week at the Staples Center and fans were so dismayed they started booing. What would team leadership need to do to not lose the loyalty of Lakers fans? With limited resources, how can the Lakers rebuild next year? What is the rebuilding plan for the team going forward?


Jeanie Buss, part-owner and president of the Los Angeles Lakers