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The Los Angeles Lakers have named Earvin “Magic” Johnson the new president of Basketball Operations.
To clear space, General Manager Mitch Kupchak and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss have both been fired. Buss remains an owner of the team with the rest of his family, most notably sister and team president Jeanie 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,” Jeanie Buss said in a Tuesday media release. “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.”
“I took these actions today to achieve one goal: Everyone associated with the Lakers will now be pulling in the same direction, the direction established by Earvin and myself,” she added. “We are determined to get back to competing to win NBA championships again.”
“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,” said Johnson. “Since 1979, I’ve been a part of the Laker Nation and I’m passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions.”
Johnson, an NBA Hall-of-Famer and a Lakers legend, played 13 seasons with the team and won five championships. He had been an adviser to the team up until this point.
On Kupchak, Jeanie said, “We are grateful for the many contributions Mitch has made to the Lakers over the years and we wish him all the best.”
On brother Jim’s ousting, she added: “Jim loves the Lakers. Although he will no longer be responsible for basketball personnel decisions, he is an owner of this team and we share the same goal: returning the Lakers to the level of greatness our father demanded. Our fans deserve no less.”
The struggling Lakers have the second-worst record in the NBA’s Western Conference this season, sitting at 19 wins and 39 losses. Only the Phoenix Suns rank worse, and by just one win.