The last time Magic Johnson worked for the Lakers, he publicly suggested they pursue LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan. Those cutting-edge ideas led to no signings, but Johnson’s tweets got the Lakers fined.
Johnson relinquished his honorary title of vice president, but the greatest player in franchise history is returning to the organization.
The Los Angeles Lakers today announced that Earvin “Magic” Johnson will return to the Lakers to assist Jeanie Buss in all areas of basketball and business as an advisor.
“We are thrilled and honored to add Magic’s expertise and abilities, and I look forward to working alongside him.” said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss.
“Magic Johnson is one of the NBA’s greatest players and it is terrific to see him returning to the Lakers,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “He is a truly special person and a natural leader with a relentless passion for basketball and profound knowledge of the game.”
“Everyone knows my love for the Lakers. Over the years, I have considered other management opportunities, however my devotion to the game and Los Angeles make the Lakers my first and only choice. I will do everything in my power to help return the Lakers to their rightful place among the elite teams of the NBA,” said Johnson.
Johnson’s duties will include, but not be limited to, advising ownership on all business and basketball matters, collaborating with coaches, evaluating and mentoring players, assessing future franchise needs, and helping ownership to determine the best path for growth and success. Johnson will spend time at Lakers offices in El Segundo and will report directly to Jeanie Buss.
Johnson is a longtime adversary of Jim Buss, whose timeline for resigning as executive vice president of basketball operations if the Lakers aren’t contending has been a source of intrigue for years. Jim has tried shift the narrative this year, as the 17-34 Lakers appear headed for another lottery trip.
Johnson was a great player and is an accomplished businessman. He’s far less experienced in basketball operations, and the Lakers shouldn’t lean heavily on him there (though who knows what they’ll do?).
But, most importantly, this signals change in management — and other shoes could drop.