With the return of Magic Johnson, there’s been a lot of speculation as to what will happen in the front office for the Los Angeles Lakers after the 2016-17 NBA season. Among other tasks, Johnson has reportedly asked agents and executives for a review of general manager Mitch Kupchak’s performance.
Johnson’s arrival has fueled speculation that he’ll replace Jim Buss in his role as Lakers vice president of basketball operations. Buss’ self-imposed timeline expires at the end of this season. It’s also been surmised that Magic may supplant or find a replacement for Kupchak.
However, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, neither scenario will come to fruition as Johnson will simply continue in an advisory role beyond this season:
The expectation, according to sources close to the situation, is that he will stay at that level beyond this season. In the short term, he’ll be a voice alongside Kupchak and Buss. But in the coming months, he’s expected to help Jeanie Buss decide whether to revamp the basketball operations leadership team.
Obviously, things can change quickly with the evaluation process of the franchise’s basketball operations still underway and a few more months left until the end of the season. Mitch and Jim could very well be on their way out if Jeanie is advised to make the move and agrees with the best course of action to part ways.
In the meantime, the NBA trade deadline (Thursday, Feb. 23) is rapidly approaching. Although the Lakers aren’t expected to be active and appear content with the way the team is currently constructed, moves could still be made in the coming weeks and Magic will have his say, via Shelburne:
It starts here as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches, when Magic is expected to play a part in the Lakers’ decision-making process. But he’s not the general manager. He’s at the senior level, hired to advise, not to get down in the weeds plotting out maneuvers.
As the deadline approaches, it’ll be interesting to see how active the Lakers are in terms of making deals and what Johnson’s input may be regarding the direction the team should take. A blockbuster trade doesn’t seem to be in the works nor is any big-name player without the exception of possibly Carmelo Anthony rumored to be on the move, but things change, especially in the final days leading up to the trade deadline.