The Los Angeles Lakers have been without a President of Basketball Operations for over a month now since Magic Johnson had decided to step away. There has been no replacement hired which has left a vacuum of power within the organization.
As more information is released on who the decision makers are, it is clear that Kurt Rambis is heavily involved. The Lakers do still have a general manager in Rob Pelinka, but it is unknown how well he works with the other voices in the room. Kurt Rambis has already been rumored by rival executives to be a “shadow president”. Now though his wife Linda Rambis name is starting to come up just as frequently. Her official title with the team is executive director of special projects, but it seems her influence reaches much farther than that.
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin and Ohm Youngmisuk provided details:
Don’t let the title fool you: Rambis is Buss’ longtime best friend and most trusted adviser. League sources have described her as a “shadow owner.”
And though the buzz over Rambis gaining the most influence in the organization has intensified since Johnson stepped down, the fact is she has been Buss’ consigliere for four decades. Rambis, who was then Linda Zafrani, was one of the first hires by Jerry Buss when he purchased the Lakers in 1979, according to an article in The Beach Reporter. Linda Rambis told the paper that Jerry Buss introduced her to Jeanie, who was in high school at the time, and the two became friends and worked together while Jeanie was in college. They also worked together on Jerry Buss’ pro tennis venture.
Jeanie Buss respects advice from senior basketball adviser Kurt Rambis — Linda’s husband and a former Laker — as well as Johnson, Bryant and Phil Jackson. But it’s Linda Rambis’ opinion Buss has long valued the most, according to league and team sources. Many believe Buss has leaned on Rambis even more after Johnson blindsided the organization with his resignation.
The Lakers owner Jeanie Buss has made it clear that she doesn’t want to be involved with the basketball side of the business. With Johnson no longer in the front office, it is starting to become clear who is filling that role for her.