Basketball: Lakers turn to Magic for help

Earvin Magic Johnson speaks before the NBA All-Star Game 2016. Photo / Getty Images
Earvin Magic Johnson speaks before the NBA All-Star Game 2016. Photo / Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers have fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and put Magic Johnson in charge of basketball operations in a major shake-up of the struggling franchise's front office.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss also removed her brother, Jim, from his job as the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations

Jeanie Buss then promoted Johnson, the Hall of Fame point guard who returned to the franchise earlier this year in an executive role.

Johnson is the Lakers' new president of basketball operations, the team announced on Twitter.

In a statement, Jeanie Buss said she "took a series of actions I believe will return the Lakers to the heights Dr. Jerry Buss demanded and our fans rightly expect," referring to her father, the late Lakers owner.

"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.

"Together, Earvin, Luke and our new general manager will establish the foundation for the next generation of Los Angeles Lakers greatness."

Kupchak has been the 16-time NBA champion franchise's GM since 2000, when Jerry West left the club.

Kupchak had been in the Lakers' front office for 30 years, including the last 17 as general manager - the longest current stretch running a front office in the NBA.

Jim Buss had been in the Lakers' front office for 19 years, including 12 in charge of basketball operations alongside Kupchak.

The Lakers are mired in the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, missing the playoffs in three consecutive years with their three worst records ever.

They finished 17-65 last season, a franchise low in the last year of Kobe Bryant's two-decade run with the franchise.

Johnson's return made Jim Buss' departure seem quite likely, particularly given Jim Buss' vow several years ago to leave the franchise if they weren't in contention for a Western Conference title by this year or next.

Johnson has never been a decision-making NBA executive, but he has been a successful businessman and investor since his playing career ended.

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