The Los Angeles Lakers announced on Monday that Hall of Fame guard Magic Johnson will be the team's new President of Basketball operations. Mitch Kupchak has also been relieved of his duties as General Manager.
It's a huge shakeup for one of sports most legendary franchises.
This was of particular interest to a certain segment of Philadelphia 76ers fans who remember how fondly Magic spoke of Jahlil Okafor back when many believed the Lakers would select him with the second pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The tweets date back to May and June of 2015:
Getting the #2 pick was important. Now we can sign Okafor/Towns & FA's will want to sign w/ the Lakers because they … http://t.co/1D91xhGoWJ— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 20, 2015
I love Okafor because he's won a state championship in HS, NCAA Title at Duke and he can bring that championship pedigree to the Lakers.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) June 10, 2015
Signing Okafor or Towns to play with Kobe, Randle, Clarkson and some good Free Agents will help the Lakers compete in the West!— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 20, 2015
Plenty of time has passed since the 2015 draft. Kobe Bryant certainly isn't around to help the Lakers compete in the West. They went with D'Angelo Russell with the No. 2 pick instead of Okafor. And Jahlil has had some rocky times in Philly.
But one thing hasn't changed: Okafor still holds the claim as a national champion with the Duke Blue Devils. Magic loves a winner.
Okafor is the most on-the-market player in recent memory.
With just 48 hours until the trade deadline, could Johnson be in a position to make a splash? Stranger things have happened.
Many Sixers fans are begging for it.
@MagicJohnson congrats on the job magic! You CAN'T have Ilyasova OR Okafor! Don't even make an offer! They're TOO valuable here!— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) February 21, 2017
Lakers coach Luke Walton has said he doesn't believe in tanking, but the Sixers owning the Lakers' pick in the 2017 draft if it falls out of the top-3 certainly would encourage such a thing.
Lou Williams has been rumored to be on the block. Expect to hear the Lakers' name pop up a lot over the next two days.
Would Okafor actually be a piece for LA to build on? His skill set seems to be quite similar to that of Julius Randle. So it doesn't jump out as a great fit at first glance. Maybe he could at least be good pals with fellow Dukie Brandon Ingram. Plus, nobody knows yet what sort of vision Magic will have relative to his predecessors. It would seem foolish to part with any sort of draft assets with a team uncertain of its grand plan.
And if nothing else, the state of the Lakers over the next few months and into next season will be worth watching for Sixers fans for when that first round pick conveys.