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The best, worst and likely scenarios for Magic Johnson’s tenure with the Lakers

Anything is possible.

NBA All-Star Game 2016 Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

So, a lot has been going on in La La Land. Since the Los Angeles Lakers announced Magic Johnson’s re-hiring, social media can be summed up pretty definitively with this famous moment in film history.

This truth remains, however, and Steve Carrell put it rather poignantly above: We have no idea what Johnson coming back to the Lakers actually means.

Jim Buss not knowing about the move until right before it happened probably isn’t a great sign for his future in his current capacity with the organization. Magic’s commentary on the job Jim has done probably isn’t good for him, either. The fact that basically anyone in the local media with a platform is ready to write off Jim isn’t exactly a favor to his image.

But with all that said, no one has any idea what all this means outside of a handful of people, and it’s highly unlikely Jim, Jeanie, any of their J-named siblings or Magic himself, will say anything definitive about what’s likely to come. So that’s where we step in.


Let’s start with the how badly this could possibly go.

First, Magic immediately hands walking papers to Jim, Mitch Kupcak, anyone holding a calculator (you know, because analytics don’t win championships) and replaces everyone with former Lakers, starting with himself as general manager.

Byron Scott heads the youth development program, but only temporarily because these kids gotta go anyway. Kurt Rambis will be put in charge of the defense and give tips on which accounts to ‘like’ on Twitter. Sure, Charles Barkley never played for the Lakers, but he’ll impart wisdom on golf and NBA analysis to anyone within the organization who’ll listen.

Because he doesn’t know what it takes to be a Laker, D’Angelo Russell will be traded for Ronnie Price. Julius Randle will be sent to San Antonio for Pau Gasol. The Lakers will offer an unprecedented $70 million contract to Kobe to finish this year, and double to return next year.

That’s illegal, you might say, but no one involved with this rebuild has any idea what “CBA” even stands for, so away we go.

Brandon Ingram is far too skinny to be an NBA player, so either he takes dietary advise from the aforementioned Barkley, or he gets to sit the rest of the year while a real Laker like Metta World Peace shows him a thing or two about a thing or two.

The Lakers become so depressing that the entire greater Los Angeles area and fans across the world stop caring about anything at all. Hygiene becomes a serious worldwide issue. Eventually human rabies breaks out and evolves into a concentrated form of bacterial disease, leading to the zombie apocalypse.

Everyone dies.


How well could this thing turn out? Funny you should ask.

Jim and Mitch’s executions are stayed. Not actual executions, mind you. That would’ve taken place in the above scenario. Anywho, they stick around. Jim and Jeanie finally see eye to eye and let bygones be bygones. They become closer than any two siblings have ever been, in the history of siblings.

Jim and Magic sit down for a similar conversation, and overcome their differences to not only fix the Lakers, but solve world hunger.

It turns out Earvin Johnson’s “Magic” moniker is born of fact. His charisma is such that monetary value can be ignored completely. He convinces LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and others to give back their salaries, circumvent the CBA and come to the Lakers midseason.

The NBA ratings take a slight hit, as the league has never seen a collection of talent to rival the one taking place in Los Angeles, but in Boston, an arms race takes place so as to ensure the NBA’s greatest rivalry will write another chapter in this and all other NBA Finals for the foreseeable future.

The Lakers win every year, because duh.

Russell learns enough from Curry to eventually become the master himself, and teach Curry how to shoot. Ingram and Durant’s one-on-one games become the thing of legend, and eventually, as with Russell and Curry, Ingram masters the game of basketball in ways our simple minds dare even imagine.

As the accomplishments of the Lakers’ front office are so awe-inspiring, Philadelphia refuses to accept the Lakers’ first rounder this summer and David Stern comes back to recompense for the vetoed trade by rigging the lottery and ensure the Lakers get the top pick. Markelle Fultz becomes actual basketball Jesus.

Los Angeles’ economy booms as a result of the Lakers’ incredible growth. Around the world, people are so inspired by the relationship of Jim, Jeanie and Magic that they put aside all differences, ending conflict worldwide. Oh, and as mentioned above, world hunger has also been solved. Global warming, schmobal warming.

We live in a literal heaven on earth.


There’s quite a gap between the two scenarios above, but as is almost always the case, reality lies somewhere in the middle.

Will Jim and Jeanie solves all their issues? Probably not, but they are both owners, still. It’s in both their interests to ensure sustainable success for the franchise their father built. Is Magic the most creative hire? Not by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s inarguable he cares deeply about the Lakers. That can’t be a bad thing.

It would absolutely suck to see what’s happened to Sam Hinkie happen to Mitch and Jim. Letting them go right as the organization might be on the verge of turning a corner isn’t a great idea in my opinion, but so long as we trust the foundation they’ve built, whoever replaces them would have to do a lot to mess things up.

We’re all biased because we’ve watched the kids grow already, but there is a downside to betting on their development lifting the franchise on its own. If one or two of them are moved for a known entity, we might freak out a bit, but the result would be fans get to watch a superstar — or something close — for the first time since Kobe blew his achilles. Worse things can happen.

You know, like a zombie apocalypse.

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