Joey Buss Rumors
The D-Fenders, the Lakers’ NBA Development League affiliate, start their season on Friday, visiting the Santa Cruz Warriors. The team is run by President and Chief Executive Officer Joey Buss, who is also part-owner of the Lakers. “My desire is always to win, and I hope to translate that onto the court,” Buss told The Times at D-Fenders media day Tuesday. “At the same time, it’s very important for the team to be a development tool for the Lakers.”
“Our goal is to have the new coach reflect Byron’s philosophies in the game,” said Buss. “But let’s not be confused. Not only is our personnel different, for example we don’t have Kobe [Bryant] . . . for us to say that we can run the exact same offense, I think that would be a little unrealistic.” Play in the D-League is generally guard-centric, with a heavy dose of three-point shooting. Scott, with the Lakers, hopes to keep his team shooting closer to the basket. “We want to implement the same philosophies and terminologies but then adapt it not only to our personnel but to also the D-League itself,” said Buss.
Buss, 30, also has an important role with the Lakers. “I serve as an alternate governor on the Board of Governors,” he said. “I’ve been doing that over six years now.” His sister Jeanie Buss is the Lakers’ president and governor. The team’s patriarch passed away in February 2013, to cancer complications. “Fortunately my father was very organized for us,” said Joey. “He did a lot of the estate planning. He set up everything up in such a way that it was very easy for us to pick up and go.”
The D-Fenders on Wednesday officially named Bob MacKinnon head coach. “We are excited to announce Bob MacKinnon as the next head coach of the D-Fenders,” said D-Fenders President and Chief Executive Joey Buss. “Bob brings a successful coaching background to our franchise, winning at multiple levels and developing countless players at different stages of their careers. Most importantly, Bob shares our vision of cultivating prospects who can deliver quality minutes for the Lakers and the NBA while also contending for an NBA Development League championship.”
How much do you draw from your dad, in terms of how to sell the product? Does he provide feedback, or is he more a sink or swim type? Joey Buss: He’s always about the sink or swim type. Just go out there and do it. Don’t ask me about anything. This is kind of like a test. That’s kind of how the trophy thing happened. [Ed. Note: Joey Buss accepted the Larry O’Brien trophy from David Stern after the ’09 Finals, a surprising move to everyone.] He had always said that he was going to come out if we were in a clinching opportunity in Orlando. So we were in a clinching opportunity and I called him and said, “When’s your flight out?” He said “Tomorrow.” So tomorrow comes around and he doesn’t show up. I hope everything’s ok, so I call him back and he says, “Oh, I’m still at home. I decided not to go.” “Well, what are you going to do if we win? What’s going to happen?” He said, “I was thinking that you could just go ahead and do it. It’s not a big deal.” I’m like, OK, thanks. Given that, he was just saying go out and do it. Sink or swim.
What have you learned from the way Jim has been criticized? Joey Buss: That you have to have tough skin. I’ve learned that no matter what you do, you’re going to be criticized. That you just gotta kinda take it, then keep your head held up high and stick to what you believe… I think that my dad has been at it so long, the experience factor is there for him in terms of, “He’s been around since ’79, so he knows what he’s doing.” As Jimmy is around more for a longer duration, he’ll get more credit and more experience. Because like what you’re saying, he’s getting criticized right now. And I think as time goes on, I think that will lessen for him. What I learned from that is to try to build myself up from a lesser role with the Lakers. That’s why I’m focusing on the D-League. I think that it best serves everybody, including myself. But it also serves, I guess, a reputation that if I succeed with the D-League team, people can see that and it’ll be on my resume, so to speak.