A week ago, Magic Johnson decided once again to join the Los Angeles Lakers brass as an adviser of sorts to owners Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss.
Yesterday, Magic made it clear to USA Today Sports on what his role will entail and his expectations of his duties.
“Working to call the shots, because it only works that way,” Johnson said. “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, ‘I’m making the final call,’ all right? And who’s that going to be? So, we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson is well aware of Buss’ struggles as an NBA owner, as the Lakers have been in a downward spiral since he became the team’s executive vice president of basketball operations. There has also been some well-noted discord between the siblings, the most known being Jim’s 2012 hiring of Mike D’Antoni over Jeanie’s then-fiance Phil Jackson, who had been promised the head coaching job after the firing of Mike Brown.
With Magic’s hiring, Jeanie will in fact determine his exact role within the franchise. Johnson further elaborated on his work relationship with the Buss family.
“Look, Jim knows where we are, Jeanie knows where we are as a franchise, and so some decisions have to be made,” Johnson said. “I may only be in this role for a short term, I may be here for a long time. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. I can’t tell you that right now.”
The rebuilding phase of one of the league’s marquee franchises won’t be simple, as Johnson noted. In recent years, the Lakers have had difficulty attracting top tier free agents, losing out on the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Durant.
“It’s going to take time, and we know that,” said Johnson. “I’m not going to fool nobody, and I don’t want the fan base to think, ‘Oh, I’m back, so it’s going to turn around tomorrow.’ It doesn’t work like that. You have to make some good decisions, you have to make sure we use the money wisely when we have it for free agents, and then we’re going to draft well.”
With Johnson back in the fold, the Buss family needs to recognize that he’s the best man to get things popping in the Staples Center again. But in order for the franchise to assume its place among the league’s elite once again, Magic needs to be in full control.