Depending on who you ask, there are several viewpoints on how Magic Johnson’s hiring as a member of the Lakers’ front office will impact the future of the franchise.
For many, the move is one that should be met with fanfare or at least optimism; after all, this is arguably the greatest player in Lakers’ history coming back to bring the franchise back to its winning ways. For others, it has been met with justifiable skepticism as a result of Johnson’s lack of experience in such a setting as well as his, shall we say, eccentric tweeting habits.
The move became a seemingly more daring one last week when Johnson proclaimed that he was working to eventually “call the shots” in L.A. That seemed to signal that Lakers’ vice president Jim Buss and perhaps even general manager Mitch Kupchak would be on the way out after Buss’ self-imposed deadline for contention.
But Magic calmed that speculation a bit on Monday as he told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that his previous statements had been taken out of context.
“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.”
This is a more promising statement from Johnson. As an adviser, Magic could be an asset for the Lakers as his basketball acumen speaks for itself despite the lack of experience in a front office. Even if he eventually takes over for Buss, still a distinct possibility, it appears as though he is willing to surround himself with more experienced individuals.
A sign of that ideology, Shelburne reported that Magic will be meeting with Buss and Kupchak shortly.
There is no telling where this Magic Johnson will eventually go. It started off on the wrong foot with Johnson nearly admitting to leading a coup against the current regime. But the latest interview brings a little more clarity to his current role and a little more relief should his role be expanded. That surely doesn’t mean Magic will excel in any role with the Lakers (and I, for one, am not optimistic), but it’s at least a start.