Bill Plaschke of the L.A. Times is convinced Magic Johnson – recently hired as the Lakers‘ basketball and business advisor – will be calling the shots in the team’s front office. Johnson’s “advisor” title was merely an interim tag, Plaschke speculates, until this coming spring, when Jeanie Buss will rebuild the team’s front office around him.
“Johnson would call the shots that are now called by Jim Buss,” Plaschke writes. “He would be the voice that is currently Mitch Kupchak’s. He would essentially fill the role, both spiritually and practically, that Jerry Buss once entrusted to Jerry West.”
More from the Lakers…
- Amongst four other questions leading up to the trade deadline, Dan Woike of the L.A. Times wondered “who is doing what?” in the Lakers’ front office. Woike notes that Johnson’s role as team advisor has only made the team’s front office situation murkier. While the team previously voiced a desire to build through the draft and attract a big name free agent over the offseason, Woike asks whether Johnson will persuade the team to trade for a star player. The Lakers could build assets by trading Lou Williams or Nick Young, Woike observes, while preserving their top-three pick in the upcoming draft.
- Mark Heisler of the L.A. Daily News notes that the Nets, Suns, and Magic are all capable of finishing with worse records than the Lakers, putting their top-three draft pick in jeopardy. While the focus will be on trading Williams or Young, the team will also look to off-load Timofey Mozgov or Luol Deng, if possible.
- Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead complimented the Lakers’ decision to avoid trading Brandon Ingram in a package for DeMarcus Cousins. Ingram has shown as a 19-year-old prospect, McIntyre argues, while Cousins wouldn’t have made the Lakers a contender this year or next. “Not to mention if the Lakers finish outside the Top 3, they’ll lose their 1st round pick. It would have been a disastrous move that would have set the franchise back even further.”
- Mark Medina of the O.C. Register emphasized the importance of Luke Walton “playing the kids” in the second half. Medina recommended the team keep Deng and Mozgov on the bench as much as possible, and (assuming they aren’t traded) do the same with Young and Williams. While keeping their draft pick should be L.A.’s top concern, Medina mentioned the importance of improving defensively.