The Los Angeles Lakers made a major shakeup to their front office on Tuesday.
The team announced that they hired Magic Johnson to become president of basketball operations, firing GM Mitch Kupchak and Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss.
The move comes weeks after the Lakers named Johnson an advisor to the team. Shortly after, Johnson admitted he would like a chance to “call the shots.”
In a statement announcing the hire, Lakers president Jeanie Buss said, “I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself. We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”
Johnson said in the statement, “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organisation. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”
It’s a major move for Jeanie Buss, who publicly said three years ago that she wanted the Lakers to be able to compete for a championship in three years. Ultimately, Kupchak and her brother Jim were unable to accomplish that mission, despite having cap space and trying to lure big-name free agents.
The Lakers are currently 19-39, 14th in the West, hoping to land a top-three pick, otherwise it goes to the Philadelphia 76ers. With Luke Walton on board, plus several young promising players like D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and Brandon Ingram, the Lakers have room to grow. However, it will be a steep climb for Johnson, who has no NBA front-office experience, to turn this young core into a championship team.
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