When Magic Johnson resigned from his position as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers, the assumption was that his replacement would have to have ties to the organization because, for some reason, that’s just how they’ve operated for the last decade or so.
The two names that immediately stand out are Jerry West, who has a rich history as a basketball executive both with the Lakers and elsewhere, and Pat Riley, who has served as president of the Miami Heat for over two decades. However, the Lakers reportedly have no intentions of reaching out to West, whose contract with the LA Clippers expires this summer, and Riley has outright said he doesn’t want the job.
Still, there has been an unwarranted sense of optimism that Riley would leave his job in Miami to return home to Los Angeles, where he cemented his name in basketball history. Then, on Friday, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN hopped on “Mason & Ireland” to finally put those rumors to bed:
”Yeah. Called, everybody said no. They have great respect for Pat Riley but he’s not only said that he’s going to retire as a member of the Heat ... I thought that would be a very good idea for them too but somebody very close to the process is pouring cold water on that too. I know this stuff is out there and I think it makes a lot of sense, but I don’t know if this is people trying to speak things into being ... Like if you say things and it gets people all excited about it, then maybe that’s how it makes something like this happen because it puts pressure on an organization to do something and/or ...”
So, as much as Lakers fans might not want to hear it, there is no reason to believe that anyone from the outside is coming in to change the franchise’s misfortunes. Sure, I suppose one could grasp on tight to the theory that the team has a big name executive waiting in the wings, but that rumor has been shot down already too.
While nothing is impossible, at this point it seems very unlikely that Johnson will be replaced and if he is, his “replacement” is expected to be general manager Rob Pelinka. Again, it’s not the most ideal situation, but it’s the most realistic one at this point.