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Lakers Debacle Continues After Team Reportedly Decides on How To Replace Magic Johnson

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The Lakers’ search to replace Luke Walton as head coach featured plenty of candidates and plenty of rejections before the team ultimately settled on Frank Vogel (and Jason Kidd).

But the team’s search to replace Magic Johnson as president of basketball operations apparently won’t even happen, according to a report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

The Lakers will not hire a replacement for Johnson, instead opting to leave the role vacant, Shelburne reported, citing an unnamed team source.

General manager Rob Pelinka, who had reported to Johnson beforehand, will instead report to Lakers ownership.

After Johnson’s departure, Jeanie Buss, who serves as the Lakers’ president and controlling owner, said the team will “work in a measured and methodical fashion to make the right moves for the future of our organization.”

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Pelinka was hired as general manager in March 2017 after a career as a sports agent, most notably for Kobe Bryant.

He said recently his role is essentially the same as it was when he was hired, even with Johnson having stepped down.

“My role as the GM right now is the same as it was when we selected Lonzo Ball with the second pick, which is our last high pick,” Pelinka said earlier this week, per ESPN.

“My role hasn’t changed since then.”

Do you get the sense that the Lakers don't know what they are doing?

According to Shelburne, Buss mulled the possibility of replacing Pelinka after Johnson abruptly resigned, but eventually opted to keep him in charge of basketball operations.

While the past month has been a compete embarrassment for the Lakers off the court, they did receive some good news at the NBA draft lottery.

Going into the lottery, the team had the 11th best odds at winning the lottery, and were thus projected to have the No. 11 pick.

But they defied the lottery odds and will pick fourth overall in next month’s draft.

It will be their fourth top-four pick in the last five years.

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Pelinka talked this week about the Lakers’ luck and what they could do with the No. 4 pick.

“To get the fourth pick was like a 2 percent chance,” Pelinka said. “We’re extremely excited.”

“I think this is a very powerful asset that could be used to pick a player that’s going to help us win next year or possibly used in a trade if that helps us,” he added.

When asked what’s next in the process for the Lakers, Pelinka echoed Buss’ earlier statement that the team would work in a “methodical fashion.”

“Really a thorough and methodical evaluation, canvassing the league to see what that pick’s value is, and then really analyzing the players that we could pick there,” he said.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
Location
Houston, Texas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
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