The Los Angeles Lakers have made the move many have called for two seasons ago. Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss are out and Jeanie has basically placed the Lakers franchise in the hands of one its most beloved sons, Magic Johnson. It was a move that needed to be made and the best part is, it was done before the NBA Trade Deadline Thursday.
Kupchak has been a fixture in the Lakers front office since he retired as a player in 1986. During his time he made great moves with the team but just like any other GM he missed as well. Mitch had to know his time was running short and the same can be said for Jim Buss. They both bleed Purple & Gold but for different reasons. Now, their love can still be for the Lakers but it will no be done in a front office capacity.
The Lakers have decided that an overhaul was needed and took the necessary steps Tuesday morning. Jeanie Buss named Magic Johnson the new President and now the search will begin for a new General Manager. A GM is the architect of a team. He molds the roster, drafts players, makes trades, contracts and more. To put tit simply, it becomes his team.
The Lakers may go for a big name here and will probably look to top-name away like the Portland Trail Blazers Neil Oshley or Scott Layden of the Minnesota Timberwolves. However, their best choice may be the choice no one sees coming.
“Trust The Process” is a famous phrase made popular by Hinkie during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers. He caught heat for the tanking but only now, have teams and the 76ers begun to take notice at the wonderful job he did. The 76ers gutted their roster and Hinkie went to work to build the franchise back up. The only difference with Hinkie and other GMs were, he didn’t have a superstar to build around. When I say that a GM has to mold a team, that’s exactly what he did with the 76ers.
Hinkie went piece by piece and while the 76ers were steady losing, he always saw the bigger picture. A great as Joel Embiid is now, 76ers fans would never know him if Hinkie didn’t take a chance. The same can be said for Robert Covington, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. But, the best part about Hinkie is his ability to see into the future. Each deal he made was to construct. For the 2017 NBA draft, the 76ers could possibly land not one, but two lottery picks. All thanks to the deals that Hinkie made.
Imagine Magic handing the keys to the Lakers over to a man who knows how to wheel and deal. While some Lakers fans may be up in arms, they need to realize that this Lakers team is nothing like the rebuild he had to do in Philly. The Lakers already have a young core of players in Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram. What Hinkie could do is trade awayLuoll Deng and Timofey Mozgov for either expiring contracts or picks that will help the Lakers in the next year or so.
The issue is that most NBA fans are impatient. The 76ers fans were and that’s the reson he’s no longer there. However, as they watch a 21-35 team (without the services of Ben Simmons) they now realize the prizes they had in Hinkie. If Magic and Jeanie are serious about turning this team around, then there’s only one call they should make.
Magic loves the game, Jeanie loves the Lakers but Sam, he loves to build.