ESPN In a move that drastically reshapes the leadership structure of one of the NBA’s most illustrious franchises two days before the league’s trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers have named Hall of Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations while firing both longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss. “Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss, Jim’s sister, said in a statement Tuesday. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new general manager to work with Earvin and coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new general manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new general manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.” At 19-39, the rebuilding Lakers have the NBA’s third-worst record and the second-worst record in the Western Conference. They’re coming off a franchise-worst 17-65 season and have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history.
Well that did not take long. Last week, Magic Johnson said that he wanted to run the Lakers, and today the Lakers fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss then named Magic Johnson team president. There are rumors that Magic Johnson is interested in hiring agents Rob Pelinka or Art Tellem as general manager, and that he would like to bring Kobe Bryant into the leadership structure in some capacity, Magic Johnson will certainly help the Lakers court free agents. There are some rumors that this move could have been made because the Lakers previous regime was reluctant to include young players in its trade offers for stars, like DeMarcus Cousins, and now many teams in the league are calling the Lakers seeing if young players such as D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram are now available. Hopefully Magic Johnson has better instincts as a team president than he has demonstrated with some of his Tweets: