The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t had an official president of basketball operations since Magic Johnson stepped down last week, and there hasn’t been any indication that they’re actively searching for a replacement since then.
According to the latest report by Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, that’s because they’re not:
The first week of the search followed chaotic week for the franchise. On April 9, Magic Johnson resigned as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, telling reporters before telling Buss or any other member of the organization. Buss has no plans to hire someone to replace Johnson, who is still expected to be part of the Lakers’ free-agent recruiting this summer.
This backs up just about everything we’ve heard and seen so far, with the exception of a few whispers that the Lakers were secretly talking to a big name executive that is currently employed with a playoff team. While it would be wonderful if the team had someone like Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers or Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri lined up, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
Instead, general manager Rob Pelinka will likely act as both the team’s president of basketball operations and general manager. I mean, why else would he be conducting the interviews for the team’s vacant head coaching position?
Pelinka overseeing basketball operations was hardly breaking news, though. What was interesting about the report, however, was the tidbit that Johnson would still be involved in the Lakers’ pitches to free agents this summer.
Johnson had expressed interest in helping the Lakers in any way he could this summer, but it was unclear if the feeling was going to be mutual from team president and controlling owner Jeanie Buss, who was blindsided by Johnson’s resignation.
In short, it seems like the Lakers have some semblance of a plan going into a critical offseason, it just doesn’t seem like a very good one. Here’s to hoping Buss, Pelinka, Johnson and Co. can prove their doubters wrong.