Speaking Monday for the first time since Johnson shocked the Lakers and then later accused Pelinka of backstabbing him, Buss said the Lakers “are in a really good place” and are “on the right path.”

“There really wasn’t anything to say,” Buss said at the NBA Awards show of why she has remained quiet until now. “I think that when Magic decided that he didn’t want to be with the organization any longer in an official capacity, that took me off guard. So I needed time to figure out what the process was going to be. That’s all. Just taking care of business and looking out after the organization.”

“It was a surprise when Magic turned in his resignation,” Buss later added when asked about the perception that the Lakers have been surrounded by turmoil for most of the offseason. “I didn’t see that coming. But everything else has been pretty much as any organization moves forward and changes going into a new season. So as much as has been speculated as to what the Lakers are doing, to me, we are in a really good place and we are following our path, and our plan, going into the next season.”

Buss has moved forward with Pelinka, the team’s general manager, running the basketball operations. She reiterated her full confidence in Pelinka.

“I’ve always had confidence in Rob,” Buss said. “Whatever the speculation that’s out there, we don’t need the outside media to validate the things that we do. I’m very happy, I think we are on the right path, but there’s still more work to do.”

“There’s a lot of changes, Lakers fans; be patient,” Buss later added. “We’re going to get there. We will not finish until we are all proud.”


Buss, who was at the NBA Awards to support both Johnson’s receiving a lifetime achievement award and former Laker Shaquille O’Neal as the show’s host, was asked about Johnson’s recent appearance on ESPN’s First Take when he spoke about Pelinka betraying him.

“I can’t really anticipate what he thinks,” said Buss, who made it clear that her relationship with Johnson remains close. “He has to answer those questions. He’s always full of surprises. Like, as surprising as it was, it kind of reminded me of back in 1981 when he asked to be traded after winning a championship with the Lakers because he wasn’t happy with the way the offense had changed. And that led us to getting Pat Riley as our head coach.

“So he’s got good instincts. He’s got to stay true to who he is and do what is right for him. I wish I would’ve had a little bit more notice, but I think we are going to be just fine.”

Jeanie waits to speak on Magic until the Lakers trade for Anthony Davis, smart. 

The Lakers still have more moves to make in free agency as Pelinka pursues more help for LeBron James. 

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