This Day In Lakers History: Jeanie Buss Hires Magic Johnson, Fires Jim Buss & Mitch Kupchak
Magic-johnson
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

On Feb. 21, 2017, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss orchestrated a major shakeup in the team’s front office, ousting general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, replacing them with Magic Johnson.

Assuming the title of president of basketball operations, Johnson set about his task of rebuilding the once-great franchise. The move was a shocking one, but the general consensus was that change was needed.

Jim Buss had given himself a deadline to bring the team back to contention and clearly was not going to make it, and he and Kupchak had handed out head-scratching long-term contracts to Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng during the summer.

Those deals would hamstring the Lakers’ ability to make moves, and would ultimately lead push Jeanie to make a change.

Johnson, who had been working as an advisor for the Lakers, would have little time to acclimate to his new role. The trade deadline was just two days away, and a number of difficult decisions would have to be made.

In his first two moves at the helm, Johnson traded Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Corey Brewer and a first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, which was ultimately flipped on draft night to acquire Josh Hart and Thomas Bryant.

The Lakers would eventually bring in Kobe Bryant’s former agent, Rob Pelinka, as general manager to help fulfill Johnson’s vision for the team. There was optimism that the magnetic Johnson and savvy Pelinka would find success where Jim Buss and Kupchak had failed, and provide young head coach Luke Walton with a team that could put the organization back on the path to relevance.

Some criticized Jeanie Buss for again turning to the team’s past by asking a Lakers legend to right the ship, but Johnson would have an opportunity to put his stamp on the team that he became synonymous with as a player.

WANT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION? CHECK OUT THE NEW LAKERSNATION FORUM CLUB

You May Also Like

This Day In Lakers History: Byron Scott Leads L.A. To 15th Straight Victory

Well before he was taking much of the blame for the failures of a young Los Angeles Lakers team, Byron Scott was an exciting young guard…

This Day In Lakers History: James Worthy Records First Career Triple-Double Against Pistons In Game 7 Of 1988 NBA Finals

Coming off a season in which they won the NBA championship, the Los Angeles Lakers stormed their way to the best…

This Day In Lakers History: Kobe Bryant Passes Wilt Chamberlain As Youngest Player To Score 25,000 Points

Legendary Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant becoming the youngest player to score 25,000 points…

This Day In Lakers History: Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor & Jerry West Lead L.A. To Past Suns, To Western Conference Finals

The NBA playoffs won’t begin for another week and the Los Angeles Lakers won’t be anywhere near it, but on April 9…