When it was announced that the Los Angeles Lakers had brought back franchise legend Magic Johnson into a front office role earlier this month, there was a ton of speculation about what that meant.
Would Johnson, with no real front-office experience, take power away from current general manager Mitch Kupchak? How would the dynamic work with team vice president Jim Buss?
Well, Johnson has seemingly given his input on what he envisions his role to be with the team.
“Working to call the shots, because it only works that way,’’ Johnson told USA Today Sports when asked about his future role. “Right now I’m advising. I get that. But at the end of the day, then we all got to come together and somebody’s got to say, ‘I’m making the final call,’ all right? And who’s that going to be?”
There’s really no room for interpretation here. Johnson wants to be the general manager. He wants to make the player personnel moves. Head that department.
While Johnson is currently nothing more than an advisor, it’s foolish to think that he took on this role to be a figurehead.
More than anything, that has put Buss on notice. For his part, the Lakers’ current VP of basketball operations spoke out about the team’s direction late last year.
“If I feel that the strides have been made,” Buss said, via the Orange County Register. “And the team is going in a very positive – not just a positive direction – a very positive direction, I don’t see a switch happening.”
Needless to say, there promises to be a power struggle within the Lakers’ organization here soon. Adding even more viability to that belief, Los Angeles currently finds itself with the second-worst record in the Western Conference at 18-37. While that’s a vast improvement over last season, the squad still isn’t where it wants to be in terms of its rebuild.
Lakers president Jeanie Buss has given her brother time to build up the roster to his liking. But that time surely seems to be coming to an end here. This was magnified when the Lakers brought Magic in. And now, he seemingly wants to take over as the face of the team’s front office. Whether that happens here soon remains to be seen. But it’s definitely pointing in that direction.