Los Angeles Lakers Executive Jim Buss Says They Won’t Panic

Jim Buss, the maligned executive vice president of the Los Angeles Lakers, continues to express utmost confidence in the team turning its season around. He might be the only one at this point. Buss blames most of the Lakers’ struggles on injuries, and says the front-office won’t blow things up. Buss also says they’re very confident in their ability to sign Dwight Howard during free agency next summer. Per ESPN: “We still like this team a lot,’ Buss said. ‘How can you not believe in this team? This team is built to win. It’s a very, very solid team. We haven’t seen them all together and play together for games. In my mind, we would not consider a temporary fix or blow it up. Why blow up something we have a future with? It’s very difficult to talk this way because we’re five games under or six games under .500, and we’ve dug ourselves a hole. But at the same time, I feel that if we put it together, we can string seven or eight games in a row and dig ourselves out of this hole. If we play with the energy we’ve seen in the last two games, then I think you go into the playoffs with momentum.’ Buss was referring, of course, to the Lakers’ injury woes this season. Steve Nash missed seven weeks with a broken bone in his leg. Dwight Howard has struggled in his recovery from back surgery and is now out indefinitely with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Pau Gasol has missed time with assorted leg injuries and is now out with a concussion. Backup point guard Steve Blake has missed all but the first five games with an abdominal injury. […] ‘We thought Steve Nash was our future point guard for the next three years and we needed a coach we felt would fit with him,’ Buss said. ‘That was one of the main issues where we thought that (Mike) D’Antoni was better than Phil (Jackson). Well, not better, nobody’s better than Phil, but we felt that he fit the team the way we wanted to work it. I like D’Antoni a lot. I still believe in him 100 percent. I have no questions about him. We just have to have this team work together and play together. We just don’t have enough information to analyze anything. It’s just not enough data to put your finger on a problem.’ […] ‘If we make the playoffs, that means we’re playing well and I think we’ll go deep in the playoffs and it’s a no-brainer that (Dwight Howard) stays,’ Buss said. ‘I think if it continues to fall apart because of injuries, I’m hoping we can convince him, ‘Look, everybody was injured, you weren’t 100 percent for the whole year, let’s give it another shot next year.’ It points to 95 percent that we’ll be able to keep him. I can’t control what he does, but I can sure make a great argument.'”