The aftermath of 2017 NBA All-Star weekend continues to amaze and startle the basketball universe. Earvin “Magic” Johnson has been named the President of Basketball Operations of the Lakers. Johnson is leading L.A. once again.
Magic Johnson Leading Lakers Again
Lakers in Transition
GM Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties and Jim Buss will no longer be EVP of Basketball Operations. 2/2
The Los Angeles Lakers announced the termination of GM Mitch Kupchak and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss on Tuesday. Kupchak had been with the Lakers organization since 1981 – first as a player, then in the front office. Buss is the son of the late Dr. Jerry Buss and brother of Jeanie Buss, President of the Lakers, and he was Kupchak’s boss. Both men have been criticized about previous years of Lakers ineptitude on the court and questionable decisions off of it. In 2014, Buss famously stated that he would step down if the Lakers didn’t contend within three to four years. The Lakers currently own the third-worst record in the league at 19-39.
Magic Johnson to the Rescue
The Lakers announced the re-hiring of Johnson, an NBA legend, on February 2nd. This time, Johnson was placed in an advisory role to Jeanie Buss. The move was met with approval by many around the basketball world, including NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Silver said, in a statement, that “Magic Johnson is one of the NBA’s greatest players and it is terrific to see him returning to the Lakers. He is a truly special person and a natural leader with a relentless passion for basketball and profound knowledge of the game.”
According to the Lakers, Johnson’s role would be “advising ownership on all business and basketball matters, collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs, and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success.”
Johnson wasted little time expressing his intentions and ambitions. In an interview with USA Today Sports, Johnson declared that he was “working to call the shots, because it only works that way. Right now, I’m advising. I get that. But at the end of the day, then we all got to come together and somebody’s got to say, ‘I’m making the final call,’ all right? And who’s that going to be? So, we’ll see what happens.”
It’s an ironic twist that Johnson replaces Kupchak. This is because Johnson was the one who asked Dr. Buss to sign Kupchak as a player back in 1981. We’ll see how this saga plays out as the NBA trade deadline approaches.