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?
LOS ANGELES -- In a move that drastically reshapes the leadership structure of one of the NBA's most illustrious franchises two days before the league's trade deadline, the Lakers have named Hall of Famer Magic Johnson their new president of basketball operations while firing both longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss.
"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," Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss, Jim's sister, said in a statement Tuesday. "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."
Sports agent Rob Pelinka is expected to be named the next general manager of the Lakers, multiple sources told ESPN. Pelinka was the longtime agent of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and sources said he is preparing clients for the possibility he joins the Lakers.
Pelinka client Eric Gordon of the Rockets said the agent has told him and two other clients, fellow Houston players Trevor Ariza and James Harden, that Pelinka will be the next general manager of the Lakers.
"We're kinda surprised," Gordon said. "It kinda happened quickly."
"Several reports have linked the Wiz to Lou Williams, and Washington has indeed explored trading a protected first-round pick for the king of the 2-for-1," Lowe wrote, but not optimistically. "Williams' game doesn't hold up as well in the playoffs, when referees don't buy his flailing and opponents pick at his defense over and over."
Although there are some serious reservations about the 12-year veteran, it hasn't stopped teams from reaching out to the Lakers to check in on Williams' availability.
"Some members of the Utah Jazz front office have expressed interest recently in Lakers guard Lou Williams," sources told Begley. "Many around the league believe Williams is likely to be dealt before Thursday's trade deadline. Some teams who have talked to the Lakers about Williams believe Los Angeles is seeking a first-round pick in any Williams swap."
Last week, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told the Los Angeles Times that he believes the team will make a deal at the trade deadline.
"We are active, yes. We’re active every year," Kupchak said. "Quite frankly, compared to the last three or four years we have a lot of talent on this roster that I think a lot of people have interest in -- varying levels of interest. I would think there’s more meaningful discussions this year than there have been the last two or three years."
Williams, 30, is having the best season of his career, with highs in points (18.6 per game) and 3-point field goal percentage (.385).
Editor's Note (Feb. 21): This mock draft has been updated after the DeMarcus Cousins trade, the Blazers-Nuggets deal and the Raptors-Magic deal -- which all included 2017 first-round picks -- and includes a new projected draft order with new selections for multiple teams.
We're halfway through the NBA season and moving toward the end of the college basketball regular season, which means it's time for the third full mock for the 2017 NBA draft.
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Lakers have much to address before season ends: NBA All-Star breaks used to be a relaxing time for Luke Walton. As a player, Walton often vacationed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to enjoy some sun and recharge in the middle of a physically taxing NBA season. As an NBA coach, his schedule is dramatically different. Before the Lakers (19-39) stopped the persistent losing simply because they temporarily had no more games to play, Walton said he planned to use part of the All-Star break comparing notes with his coaching staff. The Lakers resume practice Wednesday before their first post-break game at the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-25) on Friday at Chesapeake Energy Arena. -- The Orange County Register
Five questions to keep in mind as the NBA trade deadline approaches: Who is doing what, exactly, in the Lakers front office? The Lakers have a couple of compelling options heading into the deadline, and Magic Johnson’s new role as an “advisor” to team President Jeanie Buss makes things in the already confusing front-office situation even murkier. -- Los Angeles Times
The Toronto Raptors acquired forward Serge Ibaka on Feb. 14 and it signaled their intent to retake their spot as the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. Many followers of the NBA are wondering if the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards now will make trades to upgrade their rosters to counter the Raptors' move. When asked, John Wall said he believes Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld will make a deal by Thursday's trade deadline.
"I think so," Wall tells CSN Mid-Atlantic. "We're looking at some options to help our bench out. Other than that I don't know. I haven't talked to him about it."
Grunfeld has been willing to make deals near the trade deadline in the past and last season acquired Markieff Morris on Feb. 11. In 2015, he landed Ramon Sessions from the Sacramento Kings and in 2014 Andre Miller was added as part of a three-team deal with Denver and Philadelphia.
-- Nick Silva