Magic Returns to the Lakers
LOS ANGELES-In a stunning development, Earvin “Magic” Johnson was named President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, February 21st. General Manager Mitch Kupchak was fired, while Executive Vice President and Co-owner, Jim Buss was relieved of all duties effective immediately. In this Shakespearean power struggle between siblings Jim and Jeanie Buss, after the passing of Dr. Jerry Buss, Jeanie has emerged as the victor of the Lakers empire. The final straw was Kupchak’s inability to acquire Demarcus Cousins from the Sacramento Kings.
“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,” Jeanie Buss said. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me,” said Jeanie Buss.
Magic Johnson is as big of an icon as the Hollywood sign in the City of Angels. The former L.A. Laker led the Showtime era Purple and Gold to five titles in the 80’s, is also part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson’s ascent to President of Basketball Operations happened as quickly as the fast-breaks he orchestrated, given he was hired just three weeks ago as an “adviser”.
“We have some really talented guys, they’ve gotta get better,” Johnson said. “We will use the end of this season and work on that, and then the offseason they’ve gotta go to work.
“We have a lot of nice, young pieces on this team,” Johnson continued. “We have to develop these young pieces, and I love Luke. I think that he was the right pick, the guy is a gym rat, he knows basketball. He’s the right coach to develop our young players, we’re headed in the right direction with his leadership, and I wanted to work side-by-side with him as well.”
Johnson made headlines last week when he expressed interest in reaching out to Kobe Bryant for advice. “He’s a winner, and he knows these players, his insight is remarkable,” said Johnson.
Despite the enthusiasm felt by Lakers Nation, many questions remain as to how exactly the Lakers will become a contender? Kupchak was widely considered a fantastic GM, who will replace him? Laker fans might remember Magic coaching the Lakers in the blink of an eye during the 1994-95 season, only to quit in frustration after one dubious season. Historically, Hall of Fame players haven’t proven to be effective coaches, or General Managers. Leadership requires patience and vision, Magic inherits a young nucleus of talent, alongside Head Coach Luke Walton.
The Lakers return home to Staples Center after their grueling Grammy road trip, on Sunday, February 26th. When they meet the San Antonio Spurs, tipoff is at 12:30 p.m.