Magic Johnson could assume role in Los Angeles Lakers front office

By @saihoops on
Magic Johnson
Mar 27, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Michigan State Spartans former player Magic Johnson during the second half against the Oklahoma Sooners in the semifinals of the east regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Carrier Dome. USA TODAY Sports / Mark Konezny

Magic Johnson, widely regarded as the greatest player in Los Angeles Lakers history, could be assuming the role of an adviser in the team's front office, according to several reports.

On Tuesday evening, Jeanie Buss, the co-owner of the illustrious franchise, met with Johnson prior to the Lakers' 127-121 loss to the Denver Nuggets at home. According to ESPN, Johnson was seen dining with Buss, Lakers executive Linda Rambis and Lon Rosen, the business partner and close friend of the legendary point guard, at a restaurant inside the Staples Center.

A little later, Johnson and Buss sat next to each other to watch the young Lakers team lose their fifth consecutive game, which pushed them to the 14th seed in the Western Conference. After beginning the season with a 10-10 record, the Purple & Gold have lost 21 of their last 26 games, almost effectively ruling them out of contention for the postseason. The Lakers will likely miss the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year. 

According to Lakers beat writer Ramona Shelburne, "the exact nature of the meeting (between Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss) was not immediately clear, but sources said Buss has been soliciting opinions on the direction the franchise should take moving forward."

Magic Johsnon on the meeting: "We always get together"

After the loss, Johnson spoke to Southern California News Group to shed light on the meeting. "She always wants to ask, 'What do you see, what do you think, what do you like? We always get together. You know me. I'll break it down for her as much as I can. I love the Lakers," said Johnson, who currently works as an analyst for NBA Countdown on ESPN.

Since Johnson has an ownership stake with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the hall-of-famer is not eligible to assume an executive position with the Lakers unless the NBA makes a special provision for the same. However, Johnson could always serve as a friendly adviser. 

A few years back, Jim Buss, brother of Jeanie and co-owner of the Lakers, had declared his intention to step down from his post as executive VP of basketball operations if the team wasn't a playoff contender by the end of the 2016-17 season. Therefore, its widely assumed in the LA area that Buss could be gone at the end of the season. Jeanie Buss, who overlooks the business operations for the Lakers, has reiterated in the past that she will hold her brother and general manager Mitch Kupchak to that deadline. 

If luck doesn't shine on them, the Los Angeles Lakers (15-31) could surrender its top-3 protected draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers at the lottery later this year. But the recent string of losses could help the team acquire a top-3 pick for a third consecutive year after drafting D'Angelo Russell in 2015 and Brandon Ingram in 2016. Magic Johnson helped the Lakers capture five NBA championships in the 1980s.