Jeanie Buss says she's Lakers boss

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LOS ANGELES -- Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss made it clear Thursday that the final say, the "final hammer" as Dr. Jerry Buss used to call it, lies with her now.

"I'm the boss," Jeanie Buss said in an hourlong interview on the "Mason and Ireland" show on ESPNLA 710 radio Thursday. "I am responsible ultimately for anything with the team and decisions that are made.

"In my position, I empower people that are in positions to do their jobs. [Executive vice president of player personnel] Jim Buss and [general manager] Mitch Kupchak are responsible for all basketball decisions. They are empowered to do that. My job is to make sure, as a boss, that I provide them the tools to do the job successfully. But it's up to them to make the day-to-day decisions on how they operate their area of the business."

Buss explained that the six Buss siblings own the team in trust and are its majority owners. Anschutz Entertainment Group, real estate developer Ed Roski and world-renowned doctor Patrick Soon-Shiong are the other investors.

The final say over Lakers operations and decisions belongs to her, however.

"Ultimately I am the one voice. I am that person. I'm at the top of the food chain," Buss said.

On major decisions, such as the recent choice on whether to offer former coach and Buss' fiancée, Phil Jackson, a formal role with the franchise, Buss said that she prefers to "build consensus" among the other siblings and shareholders.

"When it comes to major decisions in any area of the organization, I like to get the blessings of the shareholders -- of which my siblings are the majority -- and build a consensus even if it isn't something that all of them agree on," Buss said. "I like to build a consensus and work as a team."

Buss admitted that "selfishly I wanted it to be in the same office so we could carpool together" but explained that ultimately the six siblings did not envision a role for Jackson with the Lakers that would give him nearly as much power as he now has as president of the New York Knicks, where owner James Dolan made a point of publicly saying that he was ceding final say in basketball matters to Jackson.

"I think people need to understand: It isn't just Phil. They don't need anybody else. Everything is covered," Buss said. "There is no additional need for anybody to come in. Jimmy and Mitch have a like mind in how they see the game and what they want to accomplish with this team and they have it under control. They don't need another voice, whether that's Phil or whoever. It isn't about Phil; they don't need another voice, they've got it covered. I understand that and I respect that and I'm happy for them."

Buss said that she has great faith in her brother and Kupchak to turn the franchise around next season and has been assured that there is reason for optimism in both the draft -- where the Lakers will have a lottery pick for the first time since 2006 -- and free agency.

"I have faith that Jimmy knows what he's doing," Buss said. "He learned under my dad. He's got a certain style of basketball that he wants to see this team play."

That faith will be put to the test in free agency this summer and next, of course, when Kupchak and Jim Buss hope to recruit a great player to come to the Lakers and help the franchise rebuild.

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