The Los Angeles Lakers sent the NBA into a frenzy when governor Jeanie Buss elected that it was finally time to move in a new direction. Upon departing with Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss’ organizational role, she brought in the one man who she knew had some tricks up his sleeve, in Magic Johnson.
A lunch date between Jeanie Buss and Johnson eventually led to him being back in the fold with the franchise he gave everything to. Johnson quickly passed up his role as an advisor and was promoted to the president of basketball operations, in an attempt to move the franchise in one clear direction.
Johnson’s reemergence with the franchise came as a bit of a shock, as basketball aficionados weren’t expecting any turmoil between Jeanie and Jim Buss until after the season. Jeanie herself stated any speculation during the season would be a waste of time, but it appears she was forced to play her hand.
While Johnson did have other opportunities on the table, it appears he couldn’t say no to Jeanie and the franchise that gave him everything he ever wanted, via NBA.com:
“Well I think that it’s the perfect organization for me. I passed on a lot of opportunities to get back into basketball. The most recent one was Golden State. Peter and Joe are friends of mine and they wanted me to join them in an ownership group, but I told them I’m a Laker.”
Johnson is truly committed to this franchise, but he knows he has a lot of work to do. Magic stated that he still needs to truly evaluate the talent on this roster, a process that he stated will take until the end of the season. While many Lakers fans hope that Johnson can bring back some of the ‘Showtime’ flair, he and Jeanie Buss both admitted that wouldn’t be the formula for success.
The 57-year-old stated that today’s NBA is tremendously different than his era, and it is going to take adjustments from both parties so that the organization is in unison moving forward:
“Today, the game is different, the players are different and so I have to adjust to them and the way that they are today. I think, for me, it’s just to understand every individual, 1 through 12, and try to bring out the best in them and work with Luke Walton, our coach, to try to develop them and take their game to the next level.”
With this newfound role, Johnson understood that he had to set his other business ventures aside and fully commit to the Lakers, in order to help guide this young team towards the winning culture the franchise is accustomed to.
In addition to all of his front-office duties, Johnson has also been traveling with the team and was helping out rookie Brandon Ingram with some things after one particular practice.
No one is quite sure how good Magic will be at this job, but he has had plenty speak up in support of him. Former Lakers coach Pat Riley stated that his former player is capable of getting the job done. Shooting guard Nick Young also alluded to the different environment with Johnson present, stating it keeps all the players on their toes and ready to prove their worth.