The Magic Has Returned to the Staples Center
Jim Buss had to have known his time in Laker land was reaching its sunset. In an interview with the Los Angeles times back in 2014, Buss said that he would walk away from his position in “three to four years, if we’re not back on top-and the definition of top means contending for the Western Conference, contending for a championship.” They have failed to attain a winning record since then. Bringing in Johnson earlier this month was originally to act as an intermediary between the business and basketball. Instead the Lakers had found Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak’s replacement.
The Lakers are far from the championship contending team that the late former owner Jerry Buss kept them in for the better part of two and a half decades. The Lakers have been in rebuilding mode for the past couple of seasons going a franchise-worst 17–65 last season, but they have assembled a stable of young, promising players like DeAngelo Russell, Julius Randle, Brandon Ingram, Jordan Clarkson and one of my favorite players to hate Nick Young.
Jim Buss made poor and sometimes panicky decisions during his tenure with the Lakers, including the hiring of Mike Brown to usher in the post-Phil era and his subsequent replacement the year after with Mike D’Antoni. Remember when Steve Nash and Dwight Howard were Lakers? Neither do I. The only thing I remember about that era was Nash getting his back stretched-out and Superman getting grounded to his lowest PPG since his second-year in the NBA. Also, is anyone wondering why Metta World Peace is still on the Lakers, let alone still in the NBA? What horrible secrets must he know that he has been able to blackmail the Buss family into paying him an NBA salary?
Johnson will have an immediate impact this off-season convincing free agents to come to Los Angeles. I don’t see the Lakers making any moves at the trade deadline having only long-term assets and nothing to play for except a lottery pick, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them move players with 2017/2018 expiring contracts at (Nick Young has a player option for 2017).
“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.
“Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. 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.”
Earvin “Magic” Johnson was drafted out of Michigan State University in 1979 and won five championships with the Lakers during the 80’s. His career achievements include three NBA MVP Awards, nine NBA Finals appearances, twelve All-Star games including the All-Star MVP in 1992. Johnson has previously held a front-office title with the Lakers in the past, including Honorary Vice President. He is also a memberof the ownership group that currently owns the Los Angeles Dodgers.