LOS ANGELES—Earlier this month, Earvin “Magic” Johnson returned to the Los Angeles Lakers as an advisor to the team. On Tuesday, February 21, two days before the NBA trade deadline, Johnson was named the new president of basketball operations by Jeanie Buss, the president of the Lakers.
Longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak has been removed from his position. Jim Buss, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, has also been relieved of his duties. Buss will remain an owner of the team.
“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,” said Jeanie Buss in a statement.
In the past, the Lakers secured several championships under Kupchak and Jim Buss. They missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, with a 17-65 record low last season.
“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,” Buss added. “Together, Earvin, Luke, and our new general manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles greatness.”
Johnson is a former player, coach, and minority owner of the Lakers. On Spectrum Sports Net, he mentioned that he is returning to “an organization [he] loves.”
“We will work tirelessly to return the Los Angeles Lakers to NBA champions,” Johnson said in a statement.
He will serve as the team’s general manager until the trade deadline.