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Mark Cuban: 'I don't know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers'

Mark Cuban cited Jerry Buss' understanding of the league and the game as a primary reason for the Lakers' past success. (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images) Mark Cuban cited Jerry Buss' understanding of the NBA as a primary reason for the Lakers' past success. (Layne Murdoch/Getty Images)

The Lakers have struggled this season, with the team currently sitting 22 games below .500 near the cellar of the Western Conference. It's a far cry from the heights to which the franchise is accustomed, and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks Los Angeles might not reach the same level of success anytime soon.

Cuban recently spoke about the 2013 death of Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Since Buss died, the Lakers have fallen on hard times: The Dwight Howard signing was a failure, and the team gave an aging and oft-injured Kobe Bryant a $48.5 million contract.

GOLLIVER: Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson put onus on Lakers management for turnaround

From Cuban's perspective, the Lakers might never reach their former glory with Jerry Buss gone, according to Dwain Price of Full-Court Press. From his report:

"Jerry Buss was the Lakers, so I don’t know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers,'' Cuban said prior to the Mavs' 94-89 win over Boston on Monday. "I don’t think there was a smarter owner in the history of the NBA than Jerry Buss, so that’s tough to replace.

"I don’t think people realize just how good of an owner Jerry was. I looked up to him a lot. Absolutely. So I don’t know if the Lakers will ever be the Lakers.''

Cuban continued to praise the former Lakers owner:

"He just understood fans, entertainment, players, how to balance all of it together, how to deal with the NBA, when to listen to [ex-NBA commissioner] David (Stern) and when to ignore him and when to tell him what to do,'' Cuban said.

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