Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss isn’t playing; she dropped a bomb on her front office, firing her brother, Jim, her general manager Mitch Kupchak and head of P.R. John Black. And of course, brought in Magic Johnson, who will report directly to her and run Basketball Operations.
Magic reportedly was set to meet with Jim Buss and Kupchak but Jeanie saved him the trouble, breaking off Jim and Kupchak before Erv could even sit with them. And it was the right move.
The Lakers have missed the playoffs the last three years, they’re coming off a franchise worst 17-65 season and have swung and missed on every single free agent that has mattered the last several years. Hell, swung and missed on some who really didn’t matter so much. And then threw down crazy jack that they had worked so hard to save on the likes of Timofey Mozgov and Luol Deng. So she went nuclear, on her own fam and the front office. She had to. It was the right move.
There’s pretty much no one anywhere other than Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak who don’t think it was the right move.
Question is, was bringing in Magic to run basketball ops the right move. That I don’t know. I know why she did, I just don’t know that it’s the right move.
She did it because he’s a link to their past glory, which always sells well in this town. And she did it because the Lakers are different. They’re not a franchise, for instance, that is going to bring in a R.C. Buford protégé. They want to keep it inside the family; they want someone who has a tie to the Lakers and understands the Lakers.
That’s why they hired Byron Scott to coach the team. And why they just brought Magic back. And if that’s your philosophy, who better to bring in than Erv. Kareem? That’ll never happen. At least it better not.
But could they have found someone better. Probably. Certainly, someone with more experience for the position. Certainly someone who has working knowledge of the latest collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap and the metrics and analytics of the game today. Things where Magic isn’t strong.
Furthermore, for all he has accomplished on and off the floor, how do we know he can evaluate and scout talent and hire intelligently around him. Because based on some of the nonsense he’s thumbed out on twitter, I’d have to say he doesn’t.
As an example, March of 2014, he tweets, “congrats to Knicks owner Jim Dolan and gm Steve Mills on bringing in a champion and winner like Phil Jackson.” Ehhhh! Wrong answer. That was a horrible hire. And an even worse tweet.
June of 2014, Erv tweets, “great move by Phil Jackson, James Dolan and Steve Mills, hiring Derek Fisher as the new head coach for the New York Knicks! Ehhhh!! Wrong again Erv. Derek Fisher was a disastrous hire. And the only reason he ended up there was that Jackson couldn’t get the guy he really wanted, in Steve Kerr.
And like Philip, if you’re unable to recruit and bring in stars, you could end up suffering the same fate as the old hippy that you were so quick to hype.
Clearly, being horrible comes with benefits, namely the potential to pick near the drop of the draft every year. Then again, having that top draft pick guarantees nothing. Especially, when the guy who has it, is tweeting out things like “for all of you out there questioning Jimmer Fredette of BYU, he is the real deal. #mencare.”
Jimmer Fredette?! Look, I get these are just tweets. But the fact of the matter is, we really have nothing else to go on with this guy. And tweets like, “Carmelo Anthony is on a mission to win the NBA championship” really don’t give me a ton of confidence. It’s not even accurate. Melo isn’t and never was on a mission to win an NBA championship. If he was, he would have never signed with the Knicks in the first place.
Look, I’m not saying Magic can’t do it. I’m not saying that this won’t work. I’m saying it might not. And that I’m not going to sit here and guarantee it will and trumpet this as some great hire. Ultimately, it might be, but if this guy washes it that wouldn’t surprise me either.