Ervin “Magic” Johnson is easily the most recognizable member of the L.A. Lakers franchise and after being named President of Basketball Operations, he is hoped to be the guy that restores the franchise to its rightful place as an NBA elite.
In hiring Johnson — who was already serving as an advisor to the team — the Lakers also relieved itself of now former GM Mitch Kupchak and VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss. Buss being removed from this position within the Lakers is somewhat awkward because he was fired by his sister team president Jeanie Buss.
Despite bringing in the likes of Pau Gasol, Metta World Peace, Trevor Ariza, and Lamar Odoms which led to back-to-back championships in the 2009 & 2010, Kupchak had his share of personnel mishaps — notably acquiring Dwight Howard. The organization’s inability to attract young stars to the city of Angels and lack of playoff appearances started to agitate the fanbase… so something had to give.
In 2014 Jim Buss told his siblings that if the Lakers were not competing for a Western Conference championship within three to four years he would step down from his position but I guess Jeanie could not wait any longer and decided to relieve him of his duties. It is still unsure if Buss will have a reduced role within the organization but it’s apparent that Jeanie is tired of losing.
The team hired former Laker Luke Walton to be its coach this off-season and now they are bringing back arguably the greatest player in the organization to help find him talent. It’s also been reported that Johnson would love for another former Laker great, Kobe Bryant, to join the team’s front office in some capacity.
We have seen former players try to step into that management seat before with mixed results. Will Johnson succeed or will this be another public relations nightmare for a team that has struggled to find consistency on and off the court over the last few year?
You also have to ask yourself if Johnson was named to this position a week earlier would he have pulled the trigger to acquire talented-but-disgruntled all-star Demarcus Cousins? According to CBS Sports, the Lakers were in contention to land Cousins but did not want to part ways with rookie forward Brandon Ingram.