Can the Lakers get back on top in the Western Conference within the three-year time frame set forth by team executive Jim Buss?
"I don't know," Coach Byron Scott said before the Lakers played the Clippers on Wednesday. "That's obviously to be determined. Is it enough time for us to get much better as a basketball team? Yes."
In April, Buss told The Times he would "step down" from his position if the franchise isn't "back on the top" of the Western Conference.
Jeanie Buss, Lakers president and governor, said Tueday she would hold her brother to that promise.
"Yeah, of course," she said at the 11th annual Lakers All-Access event at Staples Center. "But I don't see why given the resources, given our legacy, given who our head coach is, who our front office is, [we'll have] any problem."
Before talking with The Times last year, Jim Buss initially put himself on the clock in a meeting with the six Buss siblings, primary owners of the franchise.
"It was a private conversation with our family but I understand why he said it. I mean I don't understand why he said it but I don't think it'll be a concern," Jeanie Buss said. "I think he presented a challenge to himself but I don't know why he made that public.
"We'll be contending, that's what he said. We'll be in the Western Conference finals within three years. I think as long as you have Kobe Bryant on your team, anything can happen in the playoffs."
Bryant is under contract only through next season. Will the 36-year-old All-Star guard be willing to stick around for 2016-17? If not, who will be the next star to lead the Lakers back to the top?
There are no answers to be had in the early days of 2015.
"Our plan, when you talk about the organization, is to win the championship, that's the bottom line," Scott said. "I don't know what the time frame is right now. Jeanie and Jim, obviously that's between them."
So how long do the fans need to be patient? Can the team make a big step as early as next season?
"I'll let you know in September," Scott said. "That's when training camp will start next year. We'll have our free agents, our draft picks. I'll get a pretty good idea of what we have at that particular time and let you know."
Lakers commit to three
Cut-down day came and went for the Lakers without a move. The Lakers had until 2 p.m. Wednesday to waive Ronnie Price, Wayne Ellington or Tarik Black without having to pay their salaries the rest of the season.
The trio are now fully guaranteed and the team is at the roster maximum of 15 players for a total of $70.2 million.
Price will be paid $1.3 million, Ellington $1.1 million and Black $507,336.
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Pincus is a Times correspondent.