LOS ANGELES -- In a move that drastically reshapes the leadership structure of one of the NBA's most illustrious franchises two days before the league's trade deadline, the Lakers have named Hall of Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations while firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss as executive vice president of basketball operations.
"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," Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss, Jim's sister, said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
Sports agent Rob Pelinka is expected to be named the next general manager of the Lakers, multiple sources told ESPN. Pelinka was the longtime agent of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and sources said he is preparing clients for the possibility he joins the Lakers.
One of those clients, Eric Gordon of the Rockets, said the agent has told him and two other clients, fellow Houston players Trevor Ariza and James Harden, that Pelinka will be the next general manager of the Lakers.
"We're kinda surprised," Gordon said. "It kinda happened quickly."
The blueprint for the agent-to-front-office transition was established by currentGolden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers.
At 19-39, the rebuilding Lakers have the NBA's third-worst record and the second-worst record in the Western Conference. They're coming off a franchise-worst 17-65 season and have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history.
Johnson was drafted by the Lakers in 1979, won five titles with the franchise during the 1980s and recently rejoined the Lakers in an advisory role. Johnson has held positions with the Lakers in the past, including honorary vice president, which he resigned from in June. He has also previously owned shares in the team, which he sold to Dr. Patrick Soon Shiong in 2011.
"It's a dream come true to return to the Lakers as president of basketball operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family," Johnson said in a statement.Read More...
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