When the 2018-19 NBA season started, there were certain things that fans of the Los Angeles Lakers did not think would happen. They didn’t think they would miss the playoffs again. They didn’t think they would have another losing season. The certainly didn’t think Magic Johnson would quit at the end of the season.
There was especially no way he would do it because he ‘wasn’t happy’ in his position with the team. But with him stepping down, the world wants to know one thing.
Who’s next? Who wants to take over one of the most iconic sports franchises in the world and be responsible for guiding them back to the promise land? It should be easy with LeBron James under contract for a few more years.
But, then again, guys don’t seem to be too eager to come to Los Angeles and play with him—which is a problem in itself.
If you think you know who the right person is, head over to Bovada and place your bet on:
- David Griffin, currently an analyst for NBA TV: +175
- Kobe Bryant, Laker legend/Oscar winner: +200
- Jerry West, Clippers executive: +350
- Pat Riley, President of the Miami Heat: +900
- Masai Ujiri, President of the Toronto Raptors: +1000
- Phil Jackson, former coaching legend: +1000
- LaVar Ball, Big Baller Brand owner: +10,000
Ball’s inclusion on the list is obviously a joke. There is no way Jeannie Buss puts him in charge of anything. Phil Jackson being on the list might as well be a joke, too. Yes, the man is a coaching legend, but he is a colossal failure as an executive.
Masai Ujiri, Pat Riley, and Jerry West wouldn’t be bad choices. However, Pat Riley just turned 74; he is more likely to finally retire than switch jobs. Masai Ujiri would be a great choice. He has done an admirable job in Toronto, and since he is just 48, he’ll be around for a while. But why would he leave a great team in Toronto to come to a dumpster fire in Los Angeles?
That leaves Jerry West, Kobe Bryant, and David Griffin.
At 45, Griffin is probably eager to get back to working for a team again after being in television since leaving the Cavaliers. He did a great job in essentially the same position (but as VP) with the Cavs, and he knows how to build a roster around LeBron.
Jerry West was a great executive many years ago with the Lakers but decided to leave back in 2002 because he wanted a challenge. Well—the Lakers would certainly be a challenge right now. But he’ll be 81 soon. Hire him, and the team better have a plan for hiring the next guy.
What if they brought on West and Kobe Bryant in a vice-president role? West could teach Kobe the ropes for a year or two and then pass the baton to the Lakers legend.
But Kobe seems to be loving life as an investor/movie maker/businessman. Does he even want to do this? Probably not.
The smart money is on Griffin. You will not win a lot betting on him—but you’ll win.