Latest On Magic Johnson, Lakers

After suggesting last week that he ultimately wants to “call the shots” for the Lakers, new team advisor Magic Johnson has clarified those comments, though he didn’t exactly walk them back. The Hall-of-Famer tells Ramona Shelburne of that while Jim Buss is the one calling the shots in the Lakers’ front office for now, Johnson wants to be the one with the decision-making power in the future.

“When I say calling the shots, it’s more, ‘Somebody has to be the final decision-maker.’ I would love that to be me,” Johnson said. “Everybody has their input, and then somebody has to make the final call. Once we gather all the facts, I’d love to be the person making the final call.”

Although Johnson said that he doesn’t want to be the team’s general manager, he tells Shelburne that he’d welcome a role in which the Lakers’ GM reports to him.

“I’d rely on people to do that, and same persona would be the day-to-day person,” Johnson said. “Then I’d have that role where that person reports to me, and we’d talk about where we are, what we’re doing, whether that’s scouting players, whether that’s transactions, whether we’re going to extend a player. All those things.”

While Johnson admits he’s not the one calling the shots at this point, that hasn’t stopped him from talking about what he would do if he were in charge. Appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Johnson said today that he’d want Kobe Bryant to join him in the Lakers’ front office, since Bryant “understands winning.” According to Johnson, he’d ask Kobe what sort of role he’d want, and would be happy to take “whatever time he has.”

Here’s more on Johnson and his new role in Los Angeles:

  • In an interview on Monday with CBS This Morning, Johnson said he thinks it will take “three to five years” to get the Lakers back into contention, as Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News. Of course, Buss famously made a similar pronouncement three years ago, but the Lakers now have a few more young building blocks in place than they did in 2014.
  • According to Shelburne and Medina, Johnson is scheduled to meet next Monday with Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak to discuss where the Lakers’ roster stands and what’s next for the franchise.
  • The Lakers have been exploring potential trade options, but are considered unlikely to make a deal this month, since the structure of the front office remains up in the air, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. League sources tell Kyler that they expect the team to stand pat unless there’s a “no-brainer” offer on the table to improve the club’s long-term outlook.
  • Jovan Buha of spoke to Lakers head coach Luke Walton about Johnson’s potential impact on the franchise going forward.
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