The Lakers face a unique offseason. The reasons go beyond they are not considered the front runners to attract star free agents. Or that the Lakers are one season removed from their worst season in L.A. franchise history.
The Lakers will also present a subtle change toward providing a sales pitch to free agents. Lakers president Jeanie Buss will join executive Jim Buss and general manager Mitch Kupchak for a meeting on Thursday with Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, according to a league source familiar with the situation.
ESPN Los Angeles first reported the development.
Jeanie Buss oversees the Lakers’ business side and has no involvement with basketball operations, a responsibility mainly spearheaded by Jim Buss and Kupchak. But ever since the passing of late Lakers owner Jerry Buss in Feb. 2013, Jeanie has held the highest position in the franchise as the team governor. Jeanie chose to sit out of the Lakers’ unsuccessful meeting last summer with Dwight Howard. Because the two had struck a close relationship, Jeanie had felt best that others speak about any concerns Howard had about the Lakers.
Jeanie has since held a bigger role. Jeanie and her four other siblings Joey, Jesse, Johnny Buss and Janie Buss Drexel also can voice concerns surrounding the Lakers’ coaching search, though numerous sources within the Lakers stress Kupchak and Jim Buss will ultimately decide the coach. Either way, Jeanie’s participation in Anthony’s meeting adds further intrigue considering her fiance and longtime companion Phil Jackson is the New York Knicks’ president.
It is not clear how the Lakers will construct their sales pitch or if Kobe Bryant will participate in Thursday’s meeting, though he is expected to play some role in recruiting free agents. Bryant’s role with luring Anthony to the Lakers could prove critical both because of his prominence on the team and his close relationship with the Knicks forward.
The Lakers also hope to speak with LeBron James, though they believe he will re-sign with Miami. The Lakers are also unsure about Anthony’s interest. He spent Tuesday in Chicago where the Bulls greeted him with billboards throughout the city. Anthony also plans to speak with the Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets on Wednesday.