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Disappearing act: After Magic Johnson abruptly steps down as Lakers’ president of basketball ops, where does the franchise go from here?




Magic Johnson reacts as he speaks to the press resigning as Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on April 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Magic Johnson reacts as he speaks to the press resigning as Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on April 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Harry How/Getty Images

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Following a disappointing season in which the Los Angeles Lakers finished 37-45 and failed to make the playoffs despite landing the biggest off-season signing last year in LeBron James, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson shocked Los Angeles sports media last night when he announced that he would be stepping down as the team’s president of basketball operations.

In his press conference, he attributed his decision to several factors, including his personal happiness in the job, a feeling that he could help the team more as an ambassador than as a team executive, and his desire to focus less on running a basketball team and more on his own business ventures. He said that Jeanie Buss was “like a sister” to him, and repeatedly said that his main concern was his relationship with her. He added that she did not know about his decision to step down before he announced it. Magic was also emotional, crying as he lamented on the difficulty of making the decision and weighing it against his love for the franchise.

Were you surprised by Magic’s decision? What does this mean for the Lakers’ future? Who might be next in line to run basketball operations? What should be the main focuses for that person?

Guests:

Bill Oram, Lakers beat writer for The Athletic; he tweets @billoram

A Martinez, host of KPCC’s Take Two and former Lakers host with ESPN L.A. 710; he tweets @amartinezla