3 Magic Johnson Replacements as Lakers Next President of Basketball Operations

DuJour Media's Jason Binn And NBA Legend Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Celebrate Best-Selling Author Of
DuJour Media's Jason Binn And NBA Legend Earvin 'Magic' Johnson Celebrate Best-Selling Author Of / Eugene Gologursky

Magic Johnson shocked the NBA world Tuesday night when he announced he was stepping down as president of basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. In fact, this was even news to Lakers' owner Jeanie Buss, who apparently had no idea Magic was even thinking of stepping down.

Rob Pelinka is still employed as the team's general manager, and Wednesday afternoon, the Lakers announced Pelinka will remain with the team in his current role moving forward.

But if Buss does decide to bring in some additional help, here are three potential replacements for Magic as president of basketball operations for the Lakers.

3. Kobe Bryant

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Getty Images / Lintao Zhang

Why not replace Magic with another Lakers' legend, Kobe Bean Bryant? If Buss is looking to curry favor with die-hard Lakers fans, there's no better choice than Kobe. The five-time NBA Champion has found instant success working in film and television, so there's little indication he'd be willing to take the job. But if he's interested, hiring Kobe would instantly excite Lakers fans, and his infamous Mamba mentality suggests he'd be far more committed to the position than Magic ever was.

2. Masai Ujiri

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Getty Images / Tom Szczerbowski

If Buss is looking to make a big splash, she could attempt to pry Masai Ujiri away from the Toronto Raptors. While the Raptors would likely need to receive some compensation in order to release Ujiri from his contract, this isn't as outlandish as it may seem. Kawhi Leonard has given no indication that he's willing to stay with the Raptors beyond this season. If Kawhi leaves, the Raptors would likely retool around Pascal Siakam, and Masai might not want to oversee another rebuild. Masai is one of the most respected executives in basketball, and his hiring would instantly give the Lakers some much needed stability and legitimacy in the front office.

1. David Griffin

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Getty Images / Jason Miller

David Griffin was the architect of the Cleveland Cavaliers team that took down the Golden State Warriors in the 2015-16 NBA Finals, so he has experience working with LeBron James. That Griffin managed to assemble such a talented team despite working for the notoriously meddlesome Dan Gilbert really speaks to his basketball accumen. If Griffin is willing, he'd be a great hire for the Lakers, and his previous work suggests he could do an excellent job.

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