Photo courtesy of Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was named as the new President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday following his return to the organization as an ownership adviser earlier in the month.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 21, 2017
According to Lakers.com, Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss also announced the dismissals of longtime General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss while commenting on Johnson’s new role and the search for a new general manager to replace Kupchak:
“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. 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.”
For Johnson, he commented on his new role with the team that drafted him back in 1979:
“It’s a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family. Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”
Kupchak had served as Los Angeles’s general manager since the 1994-95 season, succeeding Naismith Hall of Famer Jerry West after previously winning two championships in 1982 and 1985 as a player with the Showtime Lakers from 1981 to 1986.
Jim Buss had been the vice president of basketball operations since 2005, but will continue to serve as a part-owner of the team.
Under Kupchak, the Lakers won five championships (two under Jim Buss), but over the last few seasons, Los Angeles has struggled to post a winning season and make the postseason, with their last trip being in 2012-13.
With the Lakers currently sitting near the bottom of the Western Conference with a 19-39 record this season, Jeanie Buss made the bold decision to promote Johnson just two days before the NBA’s trade deadline.
The Lakers have a talented young core consisting of D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson, but Johnson faces the tough task of making additions or subtractions to the core in hopes of leading the Lakers back to championship contention.
BREAKING: Mitch Kupchak relieved of GM duties; Magic Johnson named President of Basketball Operations pic.twitter.com/rjdalAIqKJ
— Spark Sports (@Spark_Sports_) February 21, 2017
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