The Los Angeles Lakers are heading in a new direction in their front office after years of struggling to turn their luck around.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak and President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss have been relieved of their duties, the team announced Tuesday.
Magic Johnson has been named the new president of basketball operations, a stunning development from the franchise.
Johnson was scheduled to meet with Jim Buss and Kupchak on Monday, but a scheduling issue reportedly sidetracked the sit-down.
Team owner Jeanie Buss brought Johnson back into the front office in a special advisory role on business and basketball, but had not indicated how swiftly a significant change could come.
Jeanie Buss said she took a “series of actions” that will help return the Lakers to the glory “Dr. Jerry Buss demanded.” The full statement, attached in the Lakers’ press release, can be read below:
“Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect,” Jeanie Buss said. “Effective immediately, Earvin Johnson will be in charge of all basketball operations and will report directly to me. Our search for a new General Manager to work with Earvin and Coach Luke Walton is well underway and we hope to announce a new General Manager in short order. Together, Earvin, Luke and our new General Manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness.”
Jim Buss was working against time heading into the final stretch of the season, facing his self-imposed deadline to turn the Lakers back into contenders.
Buss had promised to lead the Lakers back to the Western Conference finals by the end of the ’16-17 season, but the Lakers are instead one of the worst teams in the NBA.
They’ve also missed on landing a big-name free agent over the past several years, slowing down their rebuild efforts.
The Lakers have now begun searching for a new general manager to replace Mitch Kupchak, who’s long tenure with the franchise has come to a shocking end.
Do you think it was time for the Lakers to make a change, or was this a desperate move just days before the NBA trade deadline? Let us know in the comments!