Jim Buss and his sister Jeanie Buss of the Los Angeles Lakers pose with then-new member of the team Dwight Howard. On Thursday, Buss reassured fans that the injured free agent would re-sign with the team.
Sharing insight Thursday afternoon into how the upper management of the Lakers felt about a 15-20 start to the season, Lakers’ Executive Vice President Jim Buss blamed the team’s lack of chemistry, defense and winning all on injuries – a recurring theme in the interview and this Lakers’ season.
"The injuries have played a huge part in our losing," Buss said on ESPN’s Los Angeles radio affiliate.
When pushed to explain how a team with a $100 million payroll could possibly miss the playoffs, Buss responded: "Injuries."
However, Buss was still optimistic about the Lakers’ chances of putting together a successful season.
"The one thing that I’m holding onto is that if we make the playoffs, that means we’ve turned it around," Buss said. "If we turn this around, we are going deep in the playoffs."
Buss went on to liken his team to NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. Last season, the Kings got hot late in the hockey season, snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed, and went on to lift the Stanley Cup for the first time in the franchise’s history.
"I love Pau Gasol," Buss said of the Lakers’ most tradable asset. Buss said he had no intentions of blowing the team up, and he believed that Gasol would move closer to the basket and find space alongside Dwight Howard as this team gained health.
With regards to Howard’s status as a free agent, Buss put the Lakers’ chances at re-signing the center at 95 percent. He explained that if the Lakers were not able to turn this season around, Howard—who has been recovering from injury all season—should understand that this roster was not healthy all season long.
However, if the Lakers are able to turn this season around, Buss expects a deep run in the playoffs and Howard to return to the team.
Buss last took a moment to publicly share his thoughts on Nov. 8, 2012. On that occasion, Buss gave Lakers’ coach Mike Brown a vote of confidence. The next day, Brown was fired.
Gasol’s concussed head probably doesn’t feel much better after Buss’ latest vote of confidence.