Before the Lakers fired Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss on T…

Before the Lakers fired Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss on Tuesday, the franchise had already moved away from trying to pursue the Golden State Warriors’ Bob Myers, the franchise’s original top target for general manager, league sources told The Vertical. After Myers signed a recent contract extension, it became clear to Lakers brass that it would be unable to lure Myers, league sources said.

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After sweeping front-office changes to hire Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, the franchise is strongly considering agent Rob Pelinka to become general manager, league sources told The Vertical.
Within the Lakers’ new top circle of power, another sitting general manager who has been a significant source of intrigue for the freshly vacant L.A. general manager job: Portland’s Neil Olshey, league sources said. Olshey is a two-time runner-up for NBA Executive of the Year, including 2016 with the Blazers and 2011 as Clippers general manager after beating out the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul.
Ramona Shelburne: It's not clear yet whether Walton will be consulted on who is hired to replace Jim & Mitch. Obviously very difficult spot for Walton, who was hired by Kupchak and Jim Buss.
Arash Markazi: Jeanie Buss: "The status quo wasn't acceptable... It wasn't Lakers basketball. It wasn't what this organization stands for. "
Mark Medina: Reached Mitch Kupchak, who respectfully declined comment on no longer being Lakers' GM. He might address it once dust settles, but not now
Sam Amick: Two more names to watch in Lakers situation, in addition to Rob Pelinka & Arn Tellem: Portland's Neil Olshey & former Cavs GM Chris Grant
Marc Stein: In addition to Rob Pelinka -- agent for James Harden and Kobe Bryant -- longtime agent Arn Tellem is also said to be on the Lakers' radar.
Los Angeles Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss announced today that the team has named Earvin "Magic" Johnson as President of Basketball Operations. In addition, General Manager Mitch Kupchak has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately. Furthermore, Jim Buss will no longer hold his role as Lakers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.
"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," Jeanie Buss said. "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." "It's a dream come true to return to the Lakers as President of Basketball Operations working closely with Jeanie Buss and the Buss family," said Earvin "Magic" Johnson. "Since 1979, I've been a part of the Laker Nation and I'm passionate about this organization. I will do everything I can to build a winning culture on and off the court. We have a great coach in Luke Walton and good young players. We will work tirelessly to return our Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions."
Mark Medina: In statement, Jeanie Buss said Jim Buss is still has ownership role w/ Lakers.
In addition to the changes made within the basketball department, the Lakers also announced they have parted ways with John Black who had been the Lakers Vice President of Public Relations. Chief Operating Officer Tim Harris will immediately begin a search for a replacement. Jeanie Buss added, "We thank John for his many years of service."
League sources were skeptical that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss could truly trigger deals on their own and that Johnson would play a role in whatever the team does at the deadline, but sources said they expected Lakers would hold firm unless it were a “no-brainer” deal aimed at the future.
Jeanie Buss took all these things into consideration when she made the decision to bring Magic Johnson back into the fold, and Magic has put some thought into the process he would take to make the Lakers great again. Here’s what he had to say to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Wednesday morning. First of all, we have to develop our own players. That’s number one. Number two: We’re going to have to draft well. And number three: You just made the point, you know, we’re all — not just the Lakers — but every team is looking for that franchise-changing player.
Magic Johnson, who was hired earlier this month as an adviser to Los Angeles Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss as she evaluates the direction of the franchise, said Tuesday on ESPN's First Take that he would try to get Kobe Bryant to join him in the front office if his role evolves further.
"First call I make if I'm in charge? Kobe Bryant," Johnson said. "Because Kobe understands winning. He understands, also, these players. I would call, 'What role you want? ... If you've got a day, just give me that day.' "I'll take that. Whatever time he has, I want him to come and be a part of it."
With Magic Johnson holding an advisory role for the Lakers in the past week, however, he predicted that more growing pains await. “It’s going to take three to five years to get them back rolling again,” Johnson said in an interview on CBS This Morning that aired on Monday morning. “If we’re patient and we develop our own players, in today’s NBA it’s different than when I played. you have to develop your own players because free agent movement is not like it used to be. You have to make sure you hit a home run with the players you do draft and keep the players you have on your roster.”
Magic Johnson will meet with Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and co-owner and executive vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss on Monday to discuss the construction of the current team and the team's strategy heading into the Feb. 23 trade deadline. "Everybody has to be on the same page right now," Johnson told ESPN. "What we should be concerned about is not just right now, but how it will affect the future of the Lakers. That's why we all have to be on the same page."
"Last week someone asked me if I wanted to call the shots. I'd told them my role was as an adviser. Then he said, 'Do you want to call the shots?' And I said, 'I would love to call the shots.' But I know that I'm an adviser. Jim is the one calling the shots. I'm just an adviser. But I want to make sure that I have some type of input, and then he can decide how he wants to use that input," Johnson said. "When I say calling the shots, it's more, 'Somebody has to be the final decision-maker.' I would love that to be me. 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."
Mark Medina: Now, what's interesting with Magic Johnson, it didn't sound like Jim Buss really knew he was coming. You don't really have to read between the lines when Magic was saying 'hey, I got lunch with Jeanie Buss, I got lunch with some of the other siblings, with Joey Buss, who oversees the D-Fenders, with Jesse Buss, who is part of the front office. Oh, and I had a great phone call with Jim Buss'. What does that tell you?. No face-to-face or interaction with Jim, but with everyone else of course.
Tim Kawakami: I think Jerry (West) is always interested in things in L.A., obviously because he's such a great part of the franchise. I don't think that Magic coming in heavy increases, and I would imagine it decreases, the likelihood of the Lakers being ready to make Jerry an offer for him to come back.
Tim Kawakami: At this point I think that Jerry is going to be back beyond this season. Maybe it's going to be a year-by-year thing from here on. Maybe it will be a slighty different role. He's 78. He had to go to the hospital recently. But I don't think the Lakers for Jerry right now is the odds-on at all, just because the Magic Johnson thing it's a different set-up.
Magic Johnson said he wants to "call the shots'' for the Los Angeles Lakers, a week after it was announced he has rejoined the team as an adviser to owner Jeanie Buss. "Working to call the shots, because it only works that way,'' Johnson told USA TODAY Sports when asked what he hopes his role with the franchise will be. "Right now I'm advising. I get that. But at the end of the day, then we all got to come together and somebody's got to say, ëI'm making the final call,' all right? And who's that going to be? "So, we'll see what happens.''
Magic told Jim he was there to help, that he stood by his criticisms from the past but hoped they could move forward without that baggage. The answer and Johnson's tone disarmed Buss. It was as close to a détente as the two men, both 57 years old, had reached in years. Buss agreed and asked to schedule a meeting after the All-Star break where he and general manager Mitch Kupchak could explain their decision-making over the past few seasons. "I'm taking Magic at face value, that he's here to help," Jim Buss told ESPN. "He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Who wouldn't value his opinion? I'm excited to work with Magic for years to come."
When Magic is expected to play a part in the Lakers' decision-making process. But he's not the general manager. He's at the senior level, hired to advise, not to get down in the weeds plotting out maneuvers. The expectation, according to sources close to the situation, is that he will stay at that level beyond this season. In the short term, he'll be a voice alongside Kupchak and Buss. But in the coming months, he's expected to help Jeanie Buss decide whether to revamp the basketball operations leadership team.
Although said to be personally fond of Kupchak, who joined the Lakers' front office in 1986, about halfway through Magic's playing career, he's also determined to make an honest evaluation of the general manager's performance and abilities in today's NBA. According to sources close to the situation, Magic has already heard from agents and executives from other teams that Kupchak's deliberate style can be frustrating to deal with and has probably cost the Lakers in free agency in recent years, missing out on a list of names that includes Isaiah Thomas, Kent Bazemore, Kyle Lowry, Ed Davis, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Eric Gordon.
That speaks to Kupchak's integrity, as contact with an agent or player is considered tampering before the opening of free agency, but it also speaks, according to sources, to a lack of savvy. There are ways of gathering information on free agents without trampling the rules, so that a team doesn't begin the process far behind everyone else.
Buss agreed and asked to schedule a meeting after the All-Star break where he and general manager Mitch Kupchak could explain their decision-making over the past few seasons. "I'm taking Magic at face value, that he's here to help," Jim Buss told ESPN. "He's one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Who wouldn't value his opinion? I'm excited to work with Magic for years to come."
It starts here as the Feb. 23 trade deadline approaches, when Magic is expected to play a part in the Lakers' decision-making process. But he's not the general manager. He's at the senior level, hired to advise, not to get down in the weeds plotting out maneuvers. The expectation, according to sources close to the situation, is that he will stay at that level beyond this season. In the short term, he'll be a voice alongside Kupchak and Buss. But in the coming months, he's expected to help Jeanie Buss decide whether to revamp the basketball operations leadership team.
According to sources close to the situation, Magic has already heard from agents and executives from other teams that Kupchak's deliberate style can be frustrating to deal with and has probably cost the Lakers in free agency in recent years, missing out on a list of names that includes Isaiah Thomas, Kent Bazemore, Kyle Lowry, Ed Davis, Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Eric Gordon.
That speaks to Kupchak's integrity, as contact with an agent or player is considered tampering before the opening of free agency, but it also speaks, according to sources, to a lack of savvy. There are ways of gathering information on free agents without trampling the rules, so that a team doesn't begin the process far behind everyone else.
As the lead on business affairs, Jeanie Buss does largely stay away from the on-court product. She has said publicly that she often learns of the team's basketball decisions via news reports or texts from her brother. Sources said Kupchak rarely, if ever, communicates with Jeanie Buss, believing he reports only to her brother. That funnel effect has essentially given Kupchak incredible power over decision-making, with only one boss to hold him accountable for successes and failures.
Anyone around the NBA interested in filling that basketball operations post should start polishing the resume, even though Johnson has been close with Kupchak for a long time. Johnson is said to have an open mind about dismissing Kupchak to usher in a new era, according to sources.
Mike Bresnahan: Magic said he also planned to meet with Jim Buss soon. Extended part of Magic interview with @SpectrumSN to air at 6:30 on post-game show.
The Los Angeles Lakers today announced that Earvin "Magic" Johnson will return to the Lakers to assist Jeanie Buss in all areas of basketball and business as an advisor. "We are thrilled and honored to add Magic's expertise and abilities, and I look forward to working alongside him." said Lakers Governor Jeanie Buss.
"Magic Johnson is one of the NBA's greatest players and it is terrific to see him returning to the Lakers," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "He is a truly special person and a natural leader with a relentless passion for basketball and profound knowledge of the game." "Everyone knows my love for the Lakers," said Johnson. "Over the years, I have considered other management opportunities, however my devotion to the game and Los Angeles make the Lakers my first and only choice. I will do everything in my power to help return the Lakers to their rightful place among the elite teams of the NBA."
ESPN.com reported a dinner between Jeanie Buss, her longtime close friend Linda Rambis (now a team executive and the wife of former Lakers’ coach and player Kurt Rambis), and Lakers Hall of Famer Magic Johnson at the team’s game at Staples Center last Tuesday with the Denver Nuggets. Maybe it was just dinner. But everything is magnified now. “I think she is still gathering information,” one friend of Jeanie Buss texted Sunday night.
Los Angeles can still easily pursue a max free agent next summer, even with the new contracts on the books, but Mozgov hasn’t been an interior force on offense, and Deng doesn’t look like the Deng of old on defense. In the NBA’s new TV-contract soaked world, the deals aren’t indefensible; But they haven’t been very impactful, either, and that’s something Jeanie Buss is considering as she contemplates her brother’s future. “She’s hearing from enough people that those two signings were not strong enough signings,” said one person who’s spoken with her recently.
Jeanie Buss is sharp and patient, and GM Mitch Kupchak remains well-regarded around the league. Walton, beloved in L.A., put a strong, teaching staff together, and will get every chance to succeed. But how long will it take for the Lakers to be the Lakers again?
On the eleventh year of his exemplary 81-point performance in a single game against the Toronto Raptors, the five-time NBA champion shared his willingness to offer guidance if asked by the Lakers management—particularly the Buss family—whom he was worked closely with during the course of his career. “I’m always around behind the scenes for Jeanie, Jimmy, and the entire Buss family if they need assistance or if it be to reach out or call for advice and things of that nature,” Bryant told sportscaster Stephen A. Smith on ESPN radio, as relayed by the LakersNation website.
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Kings interested in Glenn Robinson III

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