Ever since Magic Johnson was brought on as an advisor to Los Angeles Lakers President Jeanie Buss there has been speculation about what his job title would ultimately become. The futures of executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss, and general manager Mitch Kupchak were also in doubt.
Johnson himself made no secret of his desire to ultimately be the final voice in charge of basketball operations, and that is now the case as the Lakers announced that Johnson is officially President of Basketball Operations. Furthermore, both Buss and Kupchak have been relieved of their duties:
“Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss announced today that the team has named Earvin “Magic” Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. In addition, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Furthermore, Jim Buss will no longer hold his role as Lakers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.”
President Jeanie Buss spoke on the matter, saying that the search for a new general manager is already underway. She also believes that this move will put the franchise all on one page:
“I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”
While many expected the move to happen at some point, very few could have predicted it would come at this juncture. Not only is it still the middle of the season, but the NBA Trade Deadline is only a couple of days away, and the Lakers are suddenly without a clear-cut general manager to navigate potential trades.
Nonetheless, the shuffling of the deck in the front office signifies a new direction for the Lakers organization. Everyone on board wants to return the franchise to greatness and now there is a new face in charge to make sure that happens.