Ervin Magic Johnson is returning to the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s official. The Lakers announced on Thursday that Magic will join the franchise as an advisor to Jeanie Buss on both business and basketball all matters.
The Lakers have been a mess since owner Jerry Buss died in 2013, with son Jim Buss running the franchise and Jeanie manning the helm as part owner and team president. Jim Buss has been far from successful in re-building the storied franchise, and rumors are that Jim’s ouster from head of operations as well as GM Mitch Kupchak are imminent. The hiring of Johnson will only increase the rumors.
Magic is a perfect fit, being a LA Laker basketball legend as well as a famously successful business man. He has denied any intention of moving out Jim Buss or Kuphek.
It was Jeanie Buss who announced this hire. The Lakers’ statement quotes three people: Jeanie, Magic, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The statement says that Magic will be involved in evaluating players, collaborating with coaches, and other things that are typically left to basketball operations directors and general managers. Johnson’s role sounds rather similar to the one Jerry West has in Golden State, but with a little more power.
Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding has sources who back up the common sense read of the situation. The plugged-in Ding reports that a potential new power structure in basketball ops would by led by Jeanie and Magic with younger Buss siblings Joey and Jesse, plus coach Luke Walton along with the addition of an experienced NBA personnel director.
Ding notes that Jeanie has Joey and Jesse Buss in her corner on Magic. The Buss kids make decisions by vote. Jim is wholly outnumbered here. Ding also reports that Jim didn’t know about the Magic hire until shortly before the announcement.
This is happening.