Heading into the offseason, much of the analysis and predicting surrounding the direction the Los Angeles Lakers might go with Magic Johnson at the helm has been some version of “they’re going to try to win now”.
For just about everyone with insight into the organization’s preferences, the tea leaves have pointed to some type of roster upheaval. Which, fine. On some level, it’s hard to blame the front office for wanting to put Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak’s decisions behind them, like some kind of lion killing the cubs of a rival’s to ensure his pups have less competition.
Before Magic took the job, Jeanie Buss asked him about what direction the Lakers should go in, regarding the personnel on the roster at that time. The answer is not all that surprising, and could explain why so many think the Lakers are in for quite a facelift in the coming months.
Here’s how she described it, via the Open Run Podcast, with Jesse Williams and Stefan Marolachakis.
“I asked him who he would build the team around. He thought about it for a second and he said, ‘I don’t know if you have the player yet... I would build the team around Luke.’”
Before everyone freaks out, it’s important to understand the context here.
First, Jeanie is telling a story of what happened months ago. Magic could very well have come around on the potential from a player or two he’s been able to watch up-close since.
The conversation quickly moved on to Luke before we could get more information on whether the last couple months have changed Magic’s mind, so we’ll have to see how this summer plays out.
Without that context we’re forced to wonder, and easily the biggest question regarding the Lakers remains unanswered.
With the lottery only a few weeks away and Paul George’s season now officially over, let’s all hope at some point, the question at least gets asked while the front office continues its media tour.