Magic Johnson’s resignation from his position as president of basketball operations sent shockwaves through the NBA. The Los Angeles Lakers have just finished a disastrous inaugural season with LeBron James and their top-ranking executive stepped down for reasons that are not immediately clear.
It’s also not clear how the Lakers and team owner Jeanie Buss will proceed from here. For now, general manager Rob Pelinka seems to be in charge of the day-to-day operations. But the team should probably be looking to fill Johnson’s shoes with a more experienced and reputable executive.
Enter Bob Myers, the Golden State Warriors executive credited with building some of the most talented rosters of all time. Myers is still under contract with the Warriors, but several league insiders seem to think that the Lakers should and will be interested in poaching the former UCLA Bruin back to Los Angeles.
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson, who covers the Warriors, seems to think that’s a distinct possibility with the challenge of building a great team in LA and the money he could get being big reasons why:
But why would Myers want to go to the Lakers?
Well, for starters, money. According to Sam Amick, national NBA writer for The Athletic — as he discussed on the new “Tampering” podcast — Magic was making $10 million a year with the Lakers. No, Myers does not make that much with the Warriors. Maybe about half that. Myers definitely makes less than Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who recently signed a contract extension at a number the Warriors have been diligent about keeping close to the vest.
If $10-million-a-year and the power to choose his staff is on the table, Myers would have to listen. I’d bet he’d listen. His wife might make him listen. But it may not even take that much. That’s the only upward step for him: full control and a salary that makes him the chief. The chance to get that while going back to his stomping grounds has to make it even more attractive. He’s already done the impossible — been the head of building his childhood team into a dynasty. The only thing that’s possibly cooler is resurrecting the Lakers. That might be enough.
Thompson isn’t the only one to believe this. The New York Times’ Marc Stein and ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweeted on Wednesday that they also think it’s a possibility.
It’s important to note, of course, that this all seems speculatory. None of the aforementioned reporters are citing sources. But when three well-connected reporters point to the same possibility, there’s at least some smoke.
Hiring Myers would be a coup for the Lakers who have not had stability in their front office since Jim Buss put himself on a deadline to bring the Lakers back. It would also have major effects on the team’s offseason. Luke Walton, who was an assistant coach with the Warriors for two years, could suddenly see his job become safe. Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant may actually consider the Lakers in free agency.
The bigger picture here though is not dependent on Myers. It’s that the Lakers have the financial flexibility that most franchises, perhaps even the Warriors, do not. Instead of hiring someone with direct links to the organization, they should be conducting a full search around the league. Poach a big-time executive or give the reigns to a respected up-and-comer.
Either way, it’s time for Jeanie Buss to flex her muscles and get this decision right.
The franchise depends on it.