After being named an adviser earlier this month, the Los Angeles Lakers have promoted Hall of Famer Magic Johnson to President of Basketball Operations.
In addition to hiring Magic, the Lakers also fired longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss.
“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 said in a statement Tuesday (Feb. 21). “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.”
So far this season, the Lakers have 19-39 record — the NBA’s third-worst record and the second-worst record in the Western Conference. The team is also coming off a franchise-worst 17-65 season and have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history. The one bright spot last year was Kobe Bryant’s farewell toured, which garnered a lot of positive attention and fanfare for the Lakers.
Magic Johnson first joined the Lakers in 1979, when he was drafted by the team with the 1st overall pick that year. During his career, he won five NBA titles with the franchise during the 1980s, before recently rejoining the Lakers in an advisory role.
Magic previously held an honorary VP position with the Lakers and was even the head coach for a short period.
“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.