Last week. the Los Angeles Lakers released a statement declaring that former player Magic Johnson was returning to the franchise, as an adviser to team co-owner and president Jeanie Buss. Buss is trying to figure out the direction that the franchise is headed, and knows the Lakers legend will be a good hand in assisting her.
The following is from Josh Peter of USA Today:
“Working to call the shots, because it only works that way,’’ Johnson told USA TODAY Sports when asked what he hopes his role with the franchise will be. “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?
Jim Buss (brother to Jeanie and son of former owner Jerry Buss) had made it known he would step down if the franchise wasn’t in a position to win championships in three to four years. That statement was made back in 2014 and it’s possible Jeanie could be preparing for if he does step down.
Johnson said he didn’t know if he would be with the team, whether it was short or long term. However, his wisdom and know-how of the game could potentially help the franchise. This draws similarities to how his old rival Larry Bird has done it with the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers could use the help, as they are a young-but-talent roster with a first-year Head Coach Luke Walton. They have struggled to find that direction.
The last three-consecutive seasons have been the worst in franchise history, with records of 27-55, 21-61 and 17-65, all in succession to each other. Not all has been lost though, as the Lakers have received high draft-picks, who have become young such as D’Angelo Russell (who is currently struggling with injuries) and Brandon Ingram in which the franchise can build around.
Coach Walton, who had an incredible run with the Golden State Warriors last season, filled in for Steve Kerr who was injured. The Warriors went 39-4 before Kerr returned, including an NBA record 24 consecutive wins to start the season. He certaintly seems to have the support of Johnson:
It was really good speaking with Coach Luke Walton today about strategy, players and goals that we both have for the @Lakers organization!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) February 6, 2017
With a first-time head coach in place and young stars learning to adjust to the NBA, the Lakers have boasted a 19-37 record, while placing themselves second-to-last in the western conference. With the road they are headed, they will most likely fall in line for another lottery pick.
While we don’t know what Johnson’s official position will be within the organization, he can certainly bring energy and wisdom that the team may be lacking in the front-office.
In his twelve seasons, the “life-long” Laker averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 assist per game for his career. While taking the L.A. Lakers to nine NBA Finals appearances winning five championships, Magic is widely regarded as the best point guard in NBA history, and one of the greatest to ever step foot on the hardwood.