EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Magic Johnson strolled into the conference room wearing his trademark smile, television-ready in a trim black suit, light blue shirt and black tie. All along the walls surrounding him were photos of the Los Angeles Lakers' glorious past, from fellow legendary players to snapshots of iconic games and championship parades -- all moments that have felt very distant as the franchise has slipped into dysfunction and irrelevance.
On one wall, a photo of Dr. Jerry Buss peered outward. In the frame, the Lakers' late patriarch, who orchestrated their rise, is celebrating their 1987 championship win over Boston. Dr. Buss is beaming, holding a trophy, the fourth of the Lakers' five titles during their Showtime 1980s era. His hair is soaked in champagne. Johnson was his star point guard, and it was beneath that photo that Johnson sat, at the head of the table, just as he always wanted.
"I wouldn't be sitting here if it was a good situation," Johnson, the Lakers' new president of basketball operations, said Tuesday afternoon at the team's practice facility, speaking to a small group of reporters who cover the team. "I understand what I'm up against, but I'm here, and I'm here for the long haul, and eventually we will turn it around."
Johnson said he had originally planned to meet with longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss on Tuesday. Instead, the team announced those two had been fired and that Johnson had been elevated to his new role.
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HOUSTON -- The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to trade sixth man Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for swingman Corey Brewer and an unprotected first-round pick, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.
The addition of Williams brings additional scoring to the Rockets' bench, something general manager Daryl Morey said he was hoping to accomplish by Thursday's 3 p.m. ET trade deadline.
The move comes on the heels of the Lakers' naming Hall of Famer Magic Johnson as their new president of basketball operations, firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss as executive vice president of basketball operations. There has been some question surrounding the Lakers' decision-making process in advance of Thursday's deadline, and sources told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Johnson did the deal directly with Houston.
The Lakers had multiple offers for Williams that included a first-round pick in recent weeks, sources told Shelburne. They were so confident in their ability to land a first-round pick for Williams that they offered that first-round pick in discussions for DeMarcus Cousins with the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
Williams is having the best season of his 12-year career, with highs in points (18.6 per game) and 3-point field goal percentage (.385). He leads the league in scoring off the bench, followed by Rockets reserve guard and newly crowned 3-point shootout champion Eric Gordon
So Magic Johnson is the new president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, who ousted former VP of basketball operations Jim Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak from their roles in the team's front office in a housecleaning Tuesday. Now what?
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