The Los Angeles Lakers and president Jeanie Buss made wholesale changes Tuesday morning, as they announced that Magic Johnson is taking over as president of basketball operations and both Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have been relieved of their front office duties.
The move signifies that the Lakers are moving in a different direction, and the next step would be hiring a general manager to work alongside Johnson.
It is believed that sports agent Rob Pelinka, who represents Kobe Bryant, among other NBA players, is the favorite to land the job, although that would likely take some time to happen as he would have to give up his clients.
Many have speculated that with Johnson taking over the front office, other former Lakers could be in line to join the front office, but Jeanie Buss said that the hiring of Johnson is not about recreating the ‘Showtime’ era, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Jeanie Buss: "This isn’t about going back to showtime. We’re not trying to turn back the clock.” (on @SpectrumSN)
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) February 21, 2017
Johnson put an emphasis on the team’s young core in his interview on Spectrum SportsNet, as he said that the rebuild is still going to take some time.
Johnson also added that he has been the one speaking with general managers around the league about possible trades before Thursday’s deadline.
If the Lakers are active before the deadline, it would likely be trading veteran sixth man Lou Williams for either young assets or draft picks.
Johnson could also try to make a splash by trading some of the team’s young core in exchange for a superstar like Jimmy Butler or Paul George, although that seems unlikely at this moment.
One thing that’s for sure is that with Jim Buss and Kupchak out of the front office, Johnson is without a doubt the man in charge.