Everyone’s favorite whipping boy, Jim Buss, is confident that the Los Angeles Lakers are set up to compete for NBA titles in the very near future.
He better be, seeing how his job as the team’s executive vice president is apparently dependant on a very quick turnaround.
Buss continues to defend the massive two-year, $48.5 million contract extension he gave to Kobe Bryant in Nov. 2013.
Per USA Today:
“You give Kobe Bryant $50 million for two years,” Buss said. “Are you kidding me? What did he bring us? In this day and age, what did he bring us, for 20 years? And if that isn’t what you’re supposed to do, then I have no idea what life is all about. […] You pay the guy. You believe in the guy. If he ends up (staying healthy), that’s fantastic. Well everybody (in the media) cut me up for that, but I’d say over 200 fans have come up to me and said, ‘Thank you so much for letting my kid see Kobe Bryant for two more years.’ And I’m like, ‘You know what? I’m glad I can see him for two more years.'”
“(If) I would have taken credit for all the moves we won championships for, then I would have a resume; I don’t have a resume,” said Buss, who has been on board for five Lakers titles since he first joined and whose bio in the team’s media guide is approximately one quarter the size of (Mitch) Kupchak’s. “So my resume is just me all of a sudden taking over, which isn’t true. It’s not true at all. The thing that most people don’t understand is that I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I worked with Jerry West. I’ve done this, and I’ve said these things. But it doesn’t have any teeth, doesn’t have any legs. I was very much part of the final decisions on all of the championships that we’ve won in the last 20 years. […] I was extremely involved on both the basketball and the financial side, but there was no point for me to go out and wave my flag. It didn’t make sense to me. Now I understand that I should have, to a certain degree.”
“If you go five years from now, you’re going to see that we did get breaks, you know what I mean?” Buss said. “We got the second pick in the draft. Because of the injuries (to Steve Nash and Bryant), we got (forward) Julius Randle (out of Kentucky with the seventh pick in 2014) … So I think if you go ahead and then look back, you’re going to say, ‘Well, it wasn’t that long before they got a break again.’ I think we already got our breaks, but it hasn’t come to fruition. Does that make sense?” […] “I think we’ve done a great job (rebuilding). Yeah, I think we’re in dynamite position. Not good position – dynamite. I think we’ve turned the corner. I don’t know if you discount that terminology, ‘turn the corner.’ But when you’re headed down the wrong road, and you can finally get off that road and turn the corner, that’s huge in my opinion.”