The Los Angeles Lakers announced via Twitter and official press release Tuesday morning that Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak have been relieved of their duties with the team. Magic Johnson will assume the role of President of Basketball Operations, and his first task will be to find a new general manager.
The news comes as a bit of a shock given the team was focused on the trade deadline and the three mentioned above we scheduled to meet early this week.
Jeanie Buss had always wielded the power to make this kind of move, but again, this was hard to see coming. Here’s what she had to say, via the press release.
"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."
Thursday afternoon marks the trade deadline and Johnson will be expected to get right to work. He did give this statement (again via the release):
"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."
Neither Jim Buss or Kupchak gave a statement in the release, though the team did offer gratitude to the 30 years of service the latter has given. John Black, longtime PR head, has also been relieved of his duties, per official release.
Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for updates on this developing story.