With all the tumult of the current Los Angeles Lakers' season, it seems like there is another piece to the puzzle: the ownership of the team.
Dr. Jerry Buss is the majority owner of the team, however, his health has been in decline for sometime now, and hasn't gone to a game in 1 1/2 seasons. In his absence, the team will be divided up between his six kids, which poses some problems.
Jim Buss has been groomed for years to take his father's place within the team, as Kevin Ding of the OC Register points out, but Jeanie has also been handling the business side of the team for just as long, and she's also engaged to Phil Jackson. So, Jim and Jeanie don't talk, which has caused speculation about whether or not they will sell the team, and also if Phil will get a chunk of it in the marriage to Jeanie.
While it isn't certain, it's also thought that in the trust for the Buss' kids, they have to all sell the team, or none at all; a few can't just relinquish their claim. The family released a definitive statement, though, stating:
"We unanimously agree that we have no intention of ever selling the Lakers, and intend to keep ownership of the team in our family for generations to come."
This is good news for Lakers fans, but could mean something interesting for the coaching situation. If the kids can not work together, one could become a defacto owner, and since Jeanie is essentially irreplaceable, it would be Jim. This means that Phil could get a position in basketball operations, working as an adviser to the coach.
While Mike D'Antoni seems like a nice enough guy, it's hard to believe that he would be quick to take advice from Phil, the man who has tainted his entire stint in LA so far.
There's also the possibility that Phil could go coach somewhere else too, like Seattle, and wouldn't take a Lakers office position.
Everything is very much up in the air, and while there's no sign that Jerry will pass any time soon, it's something to think about when questioning the D'Antoni hire and the Lakers future, because the situation is likely guiding many of the decisions they are making.