The move to bring Johnson aboard is a seismic shift in the landscape of the Lakers organization and is one Jeanie Buss says she should've made years ago as the franchise is suffering from its worst playoff drought in team history which will reach four consecutive seasons come seasons end. And in just his first day on the job, Johnson wasted little time before making phone calls to get a deal done just days before Thursday's trade deadline as he shipped guard Lou Williams to the Houston Rockets in exchange for small forward Corey Brewer and a first round pick in this year's draft. Williams, a former Sixth Man of the Year Award winner in 2015 with the Toronto Raptors, is having the best year of his career while averaging 18.6 points per game coming off the bench. With the Rockets (40-18) being one of the better teams not only in the Western Conference this year but in the entire Association, the acquisition of Williams provides depth to a team already stacked with shooters including Eric Gordon who won Saturday's Three-Point shooting Contest and is second in the league in points off the bench, trailing only his new teammate.
Back to the Lakers, Los Angeles is suffering yet another disappointing season at 19-39, one win better than the Phoenix Suns for the worst record in the West and third worst overall, but has already surpassed last season's win total of 17-65 under first-year head coach Luke Walton. After a fast start to the season which saw L.A. win six of its first ten games for the first time since the 2011-12 season, Walton's team has taken a step back whether that be a result of a series of injuries they've endured or the young guys are experiencing exhaustion while still getting acclimated to the grind of the NBA season. Or perhaps a combination of the two. Moving forward, Johnson promised in his interview with Spectrum Sportsnet that when it comes time to making a pitch to a player in the free-agent process, that it won't be about telling old stories about the organization's past success during the Showtime Lakers or the Kobe-led Lakers, but rather "the new Lakers." For me personally, this comes off as especially important considering its an area that Kupchak struck out in numerous times in the past few seasons when attempting to lure star players via free agency. With a new GM expected to be announced in the coming days, only time will tell if the hiring of Magic will pay off. But at least for now it's a hire that ensures Lakers fans they've got someone in the drivers seat who cares dearly about the organization and one who will give it his all to try and right the ship in Tinsletown just like he did on the court.
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