Lakers Restructure Front Office; Magic In, Kupchak Out

The Lakers announced a series of changes to their front office today in a press release, confirming that Magic Johnson will indeed be calling the shots on roster moves going forward. According to the Lakers’ announcement, Johnson has been named the club’s president of basketball operations, while general manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties. Jim Buss will also no longer hold the title of executive VP of basketball operations.

 “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,” governor Jeanie Buss said in a statement. “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.”

The timing of the moves, which comes just over 48 hours before the 2017 trade deadline, is a little unusual, and it remains to be seen how they’ll affect the Lakers’ moves – or possible lack thereof – this week. It seems Johnson will now be making the decisions on whether or not to move Lou Williams and other trade candidates on the roster by Thursday afternoon.

Since he was named an advisor by the Lakers earlier this month, Johnson has been talking about wanting to assume this sort of role with the franchise. Approximately a week after being hired as an advisor, Johnson said in an interview that he eventually wanted to “call the shots” for the Lakers. The Hall-of-Famer later clarified those comments, but didn’t exactly walk them back, suggesting that he hoped to become the “final decision-maker” on roster decisions, perhaps with a GM in charge of day-to-day business reporting to him. It appears that’s the direction the Lakers are now heading.

While Kupchak figures to be seeking a new job elsewhere in the NBA, Jim Buss will remain associated with the organization as a part-owner despite being relieved of his basketball operations duties, Jeanie Buss said in a statement:

“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.”

In the wake of today’s announcement, it’s worth noting once again that Buss said back in April 2014 that he’d step down from his position with the franchise if the Lakers weren’t contending for a title within “three or four” years.

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33 thoughts on “Lakers Restructure Front Office; Magic In, Kupchak Out

  1. josc2

    Thank god. Jim was a disaster, although he deserves credit for some of the nice assets they currently have on the floor. Foundation has been laid, now they just need to capitalize on it.

  2. Dretorade

    Didn’t want to lose Mitch but if that’s the only way to get rid of Jimmy so be it

  3. Ethan Heth

    ” this week. It seems Jackson will now be making the decisions on whether or not to move Lou Williams and other trade candidates on the roster by Thursday afternoon.”


  4. “It seems Jackson will now be making the decisions on whether or not to move Lou Williams and other trade candidates on the roster by Thursday afternoon.”

    Jackson or Johnson?

  5. Sports

    Should’ve kept Mitch for a different role. Been with the team over 20 years and has had some great drafts throughout the years

    • Fredo

      Obviously that was considered, but why would he take a lessor role when he will be heavily targeted as a GM around the league

  6. Decius9

    Now, can we please have Larry Bird announced as the President of Basketball Operations for the Celtics? Omg, that would be perfect!

    • I’m not sure why Celtics would want Larry Bird for reasons other than nostalgia.

      • Decius9

        I was half joking about that. Doesn’t really make sense, but I would love it! Lol. Sorry, I’m old-school.

  7. Curtis

    Too bad about Mitch. Although his FAs kindof sucked, he drafted well. The better and bolder move would have been Jerry West.

  8. Shane Larson

    Free at last Free at last! Jeanie Buss has fired Mitch and told her brother to basically sit down and shut up. Its Magic time baby!! Been looking forward to this day for 4 years now since Phil got screwed by these 2. Thank you Jeanie you are my hero!

    • BayAreaSportsFan

      Except nothing of the sort happened. She is definitely the person who should be in charge, as she’s the most like her father and grew up with the team. She is making good moves so far but her and her brother already came to an arrangement regarding the team awhile ago, and if she can’t make them a contender within a decade (or less) expect another change in the decision making structure. I personally like the family element and how they are working together. So nice to see after the debartalo/York fiasco.

  9. aarongill

    I feel Mitch would fill in as the Magic GM if they fire theirs. Still shocked by this move at this time at least, glad buss is gone. I feel we should promote Ryan West to GM, young team, coach, and GM.

  10. BSPORT

    About time!! Best move lakers have made since Jerry Buss died. Not sure about who for GM position. Anybody but Phil sounds good and he will basically be Magics puppet sounds like.

    • bennyg

      Would love to see them look outside the square and get Bird in as the GM. Magic and Birds brains together would be unstoppable

    • Dretorade

      I’m available, and I’ll work cheap since I love the lakers Hahahaha. I promise to move moz and/or deng haha

  11. Djones246890

    I’ll gladly take Mitch in Chicago. The future of the NBA will rely heavily on drafting well. Something Beavis and Butthead (Gar/Pax) are terrible at.

  12. 9ers4lyfe

    If they had Magic in place earlier, maybe he would have pulled the trade for Cousins. Just guessing.

  13. Logan

    So long Jim and Mitch, I won’t miss you, few will.

    And I don’t understand why anyone would want Phil back after the mess he’s made in NY and with the engagement off it seems unlikely we’ll see him. I’d rather have Riley back than him.

    Maybe promote Jerry’s son to GM and get Jerry back as his advisor. Well, get Jerry back anyway.

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