The Los Angeles Lakers are in the midst of a rebuilding effort, and the clock is ticking for Executive VP of Basketball Operations Jim Buss, who infamously promised to have the team back on the right track by the summer of 2017. If not, Buss would be removed either by his own resignation or his sister, Jeanie, firing him.
Given the Lakers’ current record of 15 wins and 31 losses, things appear to be questionable- at best- for Jim’s efforts to stay in his role in the empire that his father built. With that storm looming on the horizon, Jeanie has reportedly begun soliciting opinions from others about the franchises’ current direction, and also met with Lakers legend Magic Johnson according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss met with Hall of Fame Lakers point guard Magic Johnson on Tuesday night, sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.
The exact nature of the meeting was not immediately clear, but sources said Buss has been soliciting opinions on the direction the franchise should take moving forward, after three straight losing seasons and possibly a fourth with the Lakers already having lost 30 games this season.
Buss, Johnson, Lakers executive Linda Rambis and Johnson’s agent, Lon Rosen, were seen having dinner at a restaurant inside Staples Center before Tuesday’s game, according to sources.
Johnson also watched the Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets with Jeanie (via Mark Medina of the Orange County Register)
Magic Johnson sitting with Jeanie Buss here at Staples Center pic.twitter.com/bkBhf324pN
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 18, 2017
None of this means that Jeanie is picking Johnson’s brain for advice, nor does it mean that Johnson will take Jim’s job should he be ousted. Jeanie and Johnson have known each other since he first joined the Lakers in 1979, and Linda Rambis is likewise an old pal, so it’s possible that this was just a dinner between friends and nothing more.
That said, Johnson has long been an outspoken critic of Buss, and the mention of Jeanie seeking opinions about the team in the same piece as the dinner with Magic implies that she could be turning to him for advice. Given everything at stake, it’s not a surprise that Jeanie would seek trusted opinions about the team, but this report won’t do anything to calm the summer storm that’s brewing in Los Angeles.