Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss also removed her brother, Jim, from his job as the Lakers’ executive vice president of basketball operations Tuesday.
This news comes just three weeks after Magic Johnson was brought back to the organization as an ownership adviser to assist team executive Jeanie Buss in “all areas of basketball.”
Team owner Jeanie Buss said the following regarding Johnson’s new role and the search for a General Manager to replace Kupchak:
“Today I took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights [late owner] Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect. 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.”
Magic Johnson’s hasty elevation came after he recently told Josh Peter of USA Today that he wanted to “call the shots.”
Kupchak had been L.A.’s general manager since the 1994-95 season, while Jim Buss had been vice president of basketball operations since 2005.
While the Los Angeles Lakers have won five championships under Kupchak and two under Buss, they have been among the NBA’s worst teams in recent seasons.
Los Angeles hasn’t made the Playoffs since 2012-13, which also marks its last winning season.
The Los Angeles Lakers have already made a two-win improvement in 2016-17 compared to 2015-16, but at 19-39, they remain near the bottom of the Western Conference.
The L.A Lakers also parted ways with longtime spokesman John Black, whom Jeanie Buss thanked “for his many years of service.” The Lakers stated that chief operating officer Tim Harris will immediately begin searching for a replacement.
With just 48 hours until the trade deadline, could Johnson be in a position to make a splash?
Johnson pledged to “work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”