With the announcement of the elevation of Magic Johnson to president of basketball operations, along with the dismissal of Jim Buss, Kupchak and longtime PR director John Black, an unmistakable message has been sent: this is all on Jeanie Buss now.
"Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr". Jim never appropriately filled the large shoes left behind by his father Jerry, and the power struggle between him and his sister Jeanie seemed to put a serious strain on the organization.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who was named as a special advisor to the president at the start of the month, has quickly ascended to the title of President of Basketball Operations.
Shortly after being named an adviser to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this month, the Hall of Famer and five-time National Basketball Association champion spoke about his desire to "call the shots" for the franchise during an appearance on ESPN's First Take just last week.
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The Hall of Famer and entrepreneur has been a name synonymous with the organization since the 1979 draft. "Magic" was part of Lakers championship squads in 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 before retiring in 1991 after being diagnosed with the HIV virus.
Both Buss and Kupchak have been on thin ice recently with co-owner Jeanie Buss looking to shake things up.
Magic Johnson isn't wasting any time in his new job as the man in charge of the Lakers.
With the National Basketball Association trade deadline looming on Thursday, the timing of the changes is a bit curious.
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Kupchak, 62, had been controling general manager of the Lakers since 2000. This will be the most important choice of Johnson's tenure with the Lakers. Jim Buss had been formally a member of the front office since 1998 and had taken over a more active role in decision-making since the passing of Buss family patriarch, Jerry, in 2013.
Johnson was expected to meet with Jim Buss and Kupchak on Monday and Tuesday of this week, but scheduling issues reportedly pushed Monday's meeting between the trio back.
But make no mistake, it's now his team, the buck stops with him, the burden falls on him and Lakers fans can only hope Earvin Johnson realizes there's only one way to do this, and it has nothing to do with magic. Johnson also went on to praise coach Luke Walton as the right person to lead the team into the future and boast about the Lakers' collection of young assets.
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