“Do they have final say? No. Are they running the team? No, no, not at all,” Buss said. “I am controlling owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, I’m held accountable for every decision that’s made here.”
James is obviously a key part of the Lakers’ plans on and off the floor, but he doesn’t overrule Buss in the franchise’s hierarchy.
The Lakers struggled in the 2021-22 season, and the team’s lack of success has led to blame on several different parties. The Lakers failed to build a winning roster, as the trade for Russell Westbrook never panned out.
As a result of the team’s struggles, head coach Frank Vogel was fired following the conclusion of the 2021-22 regular season.
The Lakers also dealt with health issues, as James and superstar Anthony Davis missed significant time due to injury. However, the Lakers failed to build a roster that could sustain success without the two stars on the floor.
James and Klutch Sports certainly have an influence due to Klutch’s massive reach in the NBA, but Buss clearly isn’t going to give way to James calling the shots.
James is still on top of his game, and the Lakers would be wise to continue to build around him next season.
During the 2021-22 regular season, James averaged 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.