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The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Lakers hire icon for front office position


Photo courtesy of jpellgen via

On Feb. 21, five-time NBA champion Ernie “Magic” Johnson, who played his whole career in Los Angeles, rejoined the Lakers not as a player, but as president of basketball operations.

The Lakers are going through a rebuilding period in the post-Kobe era, but are surrounded with great talent. From players such as point guards D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson to forwards Brandon Ingram and Julius Randle, this young core is reminiscent of the young Oklahoma City Thunder team that included forward Kevin Durant and point guards Russell Westbrook and James Harden as well as the current young Minnesota Timberwolves core of shooting guard Zach Levine, center Karl-Anthony Towns, and forward Andrew Wiggins.

If the Lakers’ new players grow together and create chemistry, in a couple years the team will be return to the star-status they are known for. With 16 championships, the Lakers are regarded as one of the best organizations in the NBA, right alongside the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs.

Before Johnson joined as the president, the Lakers have endured a four-year stretch that affected their reputation as an organization. As shooting guard Kobe Bryant was nearing the end of his career due the mileage he put on his body, the Lakers were reduced to the laughingstock of the NBA.

With center Dwight Howard leaving, with players dozing on the bench, and with coaches who did not develop players, the team did not hold the reputation it held for all those decades. Superstars did not want to play in LA anymore even though it is a primetime spot to play in the NBA and offers a great life off the court. However, with the installation of Johnson as the president and a new coach in Luke Walton, things seem to be picking up in the right direction.

The day before Johnson was hired, Jeanie Buss, owner of the Lakers, fired her brother Jim Buss, the executive vice president of basketball operations, and Mitch Kupchak, the general manger who was with the team in various positions for about three decades.

According to The Ringer, “the last straw for both men was reportedly their inability to swing a deal for DeMarcus Cousins.” DeMarcus Cousins is the best center in the NBA right now, and not getting a deal for him is just one of many opportunities the Lakers missed out on.

Now, with Johnson in office and Rob Pelinka, Kobe Bryant’s agent, as the new general manager, the Lakers appear to be making the necessary moves within the front office.

Johnson is a great businessman, and has succeeded in the many business ventures he has created or been a part of. Just having him in the room will greatly help the Lakers moving forward when making trades or acquiring the next generation of basketball stars.

The talent is there on the roster, it just takes the right men in the office to bring something special out of them. In a statement written on his personal Twitter page, Johnson has “high expectations” for the future. The Lakers are about winning and he [will] work hard to make that happen,” he wrote.

With foward Paul George rumored to be heading to the Lakers after his contract with the Indiana pacers is up next season as well, look for the Lakers to be on the rise once again, returning to the illustrious days of when Johnson was running the ShowTime Lakers and Bryant was dominating the league.

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Lakers hire icon for front office position