Stephen A. Smith dissects Dan Le Batard's assessment of the Lakers hiring Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations.

Stephen A. Smith doesn't think it's fair to criticize Magic Johnson for not hiring a minority general manager.

Iguodala: Pelinka will help turn around Lakers: Warriors forward Andre Iguodala lost his longtime agent over the All-Star break, when Rob Pelinka agreed to become general manager of the Lakers. Pelinka was instrumental in working with Warriors general manager Bob Myers, also a former agent, to bring Iguodala to Golden State in July 2013. Pelinka now joins forces with Magic Johnson, who will serve as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, and head coach Luke Walton, a former Warriors assistant. -- San Francisco Chronicle

Luke Walton, Lakers players conflicted about front-office changes: The conflicting emotions swirled around Luke Walton’s head as he tried to process feeling both a “little sad” and “excited.” The Lakers’ coach expressed sympathy over Lakers president Jeanie Buss firing former general manager Mitch Kupchak and demoting her brother, former vice president of player personnel Jim Buss. -- The Orange County Register

Rebuilding in today's NBA takes more than Magic: As Magic Johnson grabs the steering wheel, he knows they have several promising players who will go nowhere without a show-stopper. In other sports, it’s helpful to have an Alpha Centauri. In the NBA, it is essential. -- The Orange County Register

Lakers' young core comforted by Magic Johnson calling them 'untouchable': While some acknowledged being in awe of Magic Johnson’s presence, the young Lakers players were encouraged by his message. The Lakers technically have until Thursday’s trade deadline to make any more moves to their roster. -- The Orange County Register

Lakers get back to business on the day after the big day: Magic Johnson’s retired jersey hung high on the wall just above the court where the Lakers ran up and down during a scrimmage. A day after a franchise-shaking quake struck the building, the players and coaches tried to return to business as usual. Total normalcy, though, was impossible. -- Los Angeles Times

Former GM Mitch Kupchak disappointed he won't get to help players 'win in the Laker tradition': Former Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak regrets most that he won’t be able to see this through. In a statement issued Wednesday, Kupchak thanked all those he worked with and expressed faith that the team he assembled will go on to win “in the Laker tradition.” -- Los Angeles Times


The Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams to have inquired about the availability of Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George in recent days, according to league sources.

While the conversation didn't go beyond an initial expression of interest -- which is common in the NBA in advance of the trade deadline -- it's notable simply for the names involved: New Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and Pacers president Larry Bird, lifelong rivals and close friends, were on the phone together.

In his first full day in charge, after Tuesday's stunning promotion from an advisory role in the wake of the twin dismissals of longtime Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss, Johnson arrived at the Lakers' offices early Wednesday to work the trade phones and, yes, throw in a call to Bird.

USA Today reported Wednesday that George recently met with Pacers owner Herb Simon to expound face-to-face on what he told ESPN's Marc Stein last week during All-Star festivities on ESPN Radio: George still longs to lead Indiana to its first NBA championship but wants to know he is part of a title-contending roster before committing to a lucrative contract extension this summer.

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- Magic Johnson swept in to soothe the rattled Los Angeles Lakers, a young, struggling team still reeling from front-office upheaval and the trade of leading scorer Lou Williams.

The Hall of Famer's words were brief before practice on Wednesday, with some of the players meeting for the first time with the former star of the franchise's "Showtime" era in the 1980s.

"He's going to come in here and try to make us better, get us back to winning," Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson said.

Co-owner Jeanie Buss installed Johnson as president of basketball operations after firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and dismissing her brother Jim as executive vice president of basketball operations a day earlier.

"Everything happened so fast," Lakers rookie coach Luke Walton said. "The initial thought is why do it right before the trade deadline, but Magic came in and we got to work right away."

Walton was processing his own conflicted emotions, having been close to Kupchak and Jim Buss. He spoke to both men on the phone after their ousters, listening as they offered encouraging words about his bright future with the franchise and ability to work with the young roster.

"It was definitely a little sad," Walton said. "I think it's important to remember all the great things they did when they were here too. Then, on the other hand, you have Earvin coming in and he's in there and he's making phone calls. It was great to work with him. It was a unique, interesting day in terms of the emotions going on.

"But the main thing everyone talked about was, 'We have a job to do still.' "

Walton said Johnson spent the past two days at the team's practice facility, talking with him and other employees about focusing on their individual jobs.

"If I'm sitting in a room with Magic and he's selling me on something, most times I'm buying it," Walton said.

Julius Randle

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Ramona Shelburne and Bill Oram join Outside the Lines to examine where the Lakers go with Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations.

Dan Le Batard makes the argument that there are many more qualified people to run the Lakers than Magic Johnson.

Stephen A. Smith shuts down the idea that Magic Johnson will be as ineffective in Los Angeles as Phil Jackson has been in New York.

Magic Johnson aims to bring "Showtime" back to L.A. Here's how he shined as a player.

Has the magic returned to the Los Angeles Lakers?

With the drastic move to change the team's leadership, Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss certainly hopes so.

On Tuesday, the Lakers named team legend Magic Johnson president of basketball operations while firing longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and removing Jim Buss as executive vice president of basketball operations.

"I wouldn't be sitting here if it was a good situation," Johnson said Tuesday afternoon at the team's practice facility. "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."

The Hall of Famer is confident he can rebuild the Lakers into championship contenders.

But what do you think? Will Magic get the job done?

Vote now:

While Johnson has expressed optimism about turning around the franchise, it certainly won't be easy.

Not only are the Lakers coming off the worst season in franchise history (17-65), but they've also missed the playoffs three years in a row, the longest postseason drought in team history.

At 19-39 this season, the Lakers have the third-worst record in the NBA. They enter Friday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder having lost seven of their past 10 games.

--Isaac Chipps

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Ryen Russillo and Chris B. Haynes examines why Magic Johnson opted to trade Lou Williams to the Rockets.

Max Kellerman thinks that while Magic Johnson will uplift the team, Kobe Bryant might bring down morale.

Stephen A. Smith isn't letting Jeanie Buss off of the hook for not firing her brother Jim sooner.

Stephen A. Smith thinks Magic Johnson restores credibility to "the purple and gold."



D'Angelo Russell
14.2 4.7 1.2 26.5
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.1
AssistsD. Russell 4.7
StealsJ. Clarkson 1.2
BlocksI. Zubac 0.7