Magic Johnson’s campaign to get Jim Buss’ job as the head of Lakers’ basketball operations has all the subtlety of a Donald Trump tweet.
Magic was brought on by Jeanie Buss — the CEO of the Lakers and controller of the business side — as an “advisor to ownership.” But the way Magic has been critical of Jim Buss in the past it seems the writing was on the wall, and if that wasn’t clear enough Magic said the Lakers didn’t seem headed in the right direction and that he wanted the job to right the ship.
But if all that was too subtle for you, here is Magic went on ESPN’s “First Take” and was more direct (transcribed by Tania Ganguli on Twitter), saying he would want a “Phil Jackson” kind of role.
“If I took on the role, and yes I do want to do it. If I took it on, I would definitely give 150 percent because I have other people to run my businesses. We’re at a place now where I don’t have to be there. But I would have to be with the Lakers every single day. We’ve gotta come up with a strategy that will help us get back in the next three to five years.”
Lakers fans should hope he does a better job than Jackson has in New York. Although saying the Lakers are still three to five years away is spot on and a sign that he seems to understand the task ahead — there is not a quick fix in Los Angeles. Superstar free agents are not going to flock to the Lakers right now just because they are the Lakers, as the Celtics did the Lakers need to build a strong young foundation, then the stars (Al Horford) will take the team seriously. Right now, even if Magic gets a meeting with an elite free agent, it’s out of courtesy.
This can work, but it’s going to take more than just effort. While his first call may be to Kobe Bryant, Magic’s second call should be to one of the good up-and-coming potential GMs in the league (there are a number of guys considered ready for the job) and install him as the GM. Magic is not going to be the day-to-day guy dealing with agents, and he needs somebody who knows the salary cap and its many nuances well. He needs a right-hand guy who gets the details of the job, someone who can execute Magic’s vision.
All that said, it’s hard not to see Magic getting the job this summer. The only question is how bloody the coup will be.