Magic Johnson’s abrupt retirement leaves a big hole in the Lakers’ front office — both in terms of his job and in terms of his larger-than-life personality that helped make him an icon in Los Angeles.
Magic, the unofficial Lakers ambassador, can still fill the personality part. The job part — which Magic was not particularly good at — will take some work to find the right replacement.
Jeanie Buss, the Lakers’ lead owner, needs to be bold and find an elite, experienced GM/team president to take over Magic’s actual job with the franchise. She cannot miss on this hire. The Lakers have a 34-year-old LeBron James and a closing window, they need to be good now, not later. The franchise also needs a GM that understands how to set a true organizational culture and be forward thinking, things the Lakers have lacked in recent years.
Bob Myers fits the bill. The agent turned front office executive has turned the Warriors into a two-time (soon to be three-time) defending NBA champion and powerhouse. The rumors going around the NBA is he is at the top of the Lakers’ target list.
This is exactly the guy Buss should call. She may not be able to pry him out of Golden State, but you make the call.
Myers is under contract to the Warriors. If they let him speak to the Lakers (they likely would if he wanted to) the Lakers would have to give up a lot in compensation for the rights to sign him.
Myers is the kind of GM the Lakers need. He is a guy who collaborative, who puts together his team and then with them hashes out every possible scenario so nothing catches him off guard (although DeMarcus Cousins calling him last July did). He’s detail-oriented and prepared. He drafts well and makes smart trades, he understands roster building. Maybe most importantly for the Laker job, Myers is very good at managing drama around a team and helping keep it from impacting a locker room. Think the Lakers could have used that this past season?
Myers played college basketball at UCLA and still is tight with the program (he helped on its recent search for a new coach). He got his law degree at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and lived there while an NBA player agent for more than a decade. He’s got ties to Southern California.
What the Lakers can lure him with is starts with money. It always starts with money. Magic reportedly made in the ballpark of $10 million a season (according to Sam Amick of The Athletic on his new “Tampering” podcast), Myers makes less than that, maybe considerably (the figures are not public).
The Lakers also offer opportunity — they do have LeBron and a lot of cap space, plus an interesting young core. As big as the Warriors are now, there is no GM job as powerful and on as big a stage a the Laker job. That brand has a lot of pull.
Maybe all that is not enough to get Myers out of the Bay Area. It’s probably not. Does Myers want to be in the bright spotlight of LeBron’s Lakers, where there are no shadows for anyone? He’s also built something special with the Warriors and he may not want to walk away.
But Buss should at least make the call.