Thank the lord, the Lakers have finally decided they are serious again. Tuesday morning Lakers President Jeanie Buss fired her brother Jim Buss and General Manager, Mitch Kupchak. Who takes over? How bout the best point guard of all time, Irving “Magic” Johnson, to serve as President of Basketball Operations.
I’m completely neutral to the Los Angeles Lakers, but as a basketball fan, this is great to see. This move was a long time coming and perfect timing. We can all agree that basketball is best when the Lakers and Celtics are competing at high levels and for championships. The Lakers are rebuilding and have a ton of talent, but after a hot start, they are third to last record wise in the NBA at 19-39. Not to mention second worst record over the last four seasons at .267 win percentage. I’m not a GM but that’s not Laker basketball. Props to Jeanie Bus though for making the correct basketball decision. The separation of work and family is easier said than done and it has to be hard to fire your brother. Especially being fired by your sister in a league that is male dominant.
Why now may you ask? Simple. The DeMarcus Cousins trade was the final nail in the coffin for the underwhelming duo of Buss and Kupchak. How? Because they had a shot at Cousins, a real shot. We also know Jennie is a huge fan of Cousins, as am I, he’s immensely talented and I think underrated. The Lakers were in trade talks but were not willing to give up any future picks or young players such a Brandon Ingram. Ingram has been a train wreck this season, just over 8 points a game on 36 percent shooting and laughable PER of 7.31. Sure Ingram is only a rookie, 19, and needs to fill out his body immensely to be able to bang with the boys in the NBA. I still do think he will be a good NBA player and starter at the minimum in the future. But when you are trying to win and have a chance to trade potential for a superstar, more times than not trade for the superstar.
Cousins’ is a stud. Putting up 27.8 points 10.6 rebounds and4.8 assists to boot with 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and making 95 3’s, there’s nothing he can’t do. His passing is immensely underrated as well as his shooting abilities. Once they let Cousins talks go and he was traded to the Pelicans for essentially nothing, bye bye Buss and Kupchak. Business is business.
The good new for the Lakers is that’s in the past now and they have a bright future ahead of them. I love Magic as a person and as an executive. Few people understand the game better than him and know what it takes to win in the NBA like he does. This move means they’re not going to sit around and wait for players to pan out. The Lakers are sick of losing.
Who else will be waiting in the wings? Nobody other than Laker great Kobe Bryant. Magic said just last week that “First call I make if I’m in charge? Kobe Bryant…Because Kobe understands winning. He understands, also, these players. So I would call, ‘What role do you want? If you’ve got one day, just give me that day. I’ll take that, Whatever time he has, I want him to come and be a part of it” Couldn’t agree more Magic, Kobe is a winner and will help bring back that winning culture. He has already started working with rookie Brendan Ingram and I only expect to see more of him. Also, there are rumors that Kobe’s agent Rob Pelinka will take over for Kupchak. Hmmm. Expect to see more from Kobe.
With the combination of Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and head coach Luke Walton the Lakers have leaders. Leaders that have won on many levels and from different eras. They won’t win a title in the immediate future but let’s see what moves the group makes this summer during Free Agency. Who know maybe they’ll even do something before the trade deadline Thursday.