The times, they are a changing for the Los Angeles Lakers, and former coach Byron Scott has taken the opportunity to express his thoughts on the team’s recent moves. In the span of a day, the Lakers announced that they were parting ways with longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss, who together helmed the team’s basketball operations department.
In their place, they hired Lakers legend Magic Johnson to take over the department and will soon add former agent Rob Pelinka to become the team’s new general manager. Scott, a former teammate of Johnson’s during the Showtime era, appeared on ESPN to give his two cents on the moves:
“Right now, it let’s everybody in the league know that the Lakers are for real again. And I think putting Magic in charge is definitely the best thing to do.”
Scott was replaced as head coach of the Lakers last summer when Kupchak and Buss opted to move in a different direction. That, combined with his history playing alongside Johnson, makes it no surprise that he would be all for the team’s recent moves. In fact, Scott went further and criticized Buss and Kupchak for not being on the same page while he was with the club:
“I think the biggest thing is the fact that there was a lot of times where I didn’t feel like they (Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss) were on the same page…in a few of the meetings that I was sitting in on, Jeanie had made it clear that right now, the direction that they are going with Magic in charge, they are on the same path, they are going in the same direction, and I think that’s very important to her. Moving forward, they want to get back to championship basketball.”
While Scott’s comments could be dismissed as simply sour grapes, he does appear to genuinely want to see the Lakers succeed again, and some bias doesn’t necessarily mean that he is wrong. Johnson certainly has a lot of work to do in order to return the Lakers to contention, but Scott is right that, at the very least, it does appear that Johnson and Jeanie Buss will at least be on the same page, which should help bridge the gap between the team’s basketball operations and business departments.