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Lakers Head Into Uncertain New Era Without Jackson

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) – Jerry Buss has always tolerated big egos, distracted players and huge luxury-tax bills as long as his Los Angeles Lakers were annual contenders for the NBA title.

With the Lakers’ threepeat quest abruptly over after seven miserable days in May, the owner must decide how much of this smoldering wreck he’ll keep, and how much it will cost.

The questions extend far beyond finding a replacement for coach Phil Jackson, who insists he’s done.

The Lakers also must retool an aging, slow roster built to run Jackson’s triangle offense.

The Lakers’ glamour could help attract superstar free agents, yet Los Angeles’ payroll already is packed with guaranteed contracts for several players who underachieved this season.

We will learn more about the on Tuesday and Wednesday when the players conduct their exit interviews with the media. Jackson, Mitch Kupchak and Kobe Bryant are expected to talk on Wednesday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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