Wizards

Wizards

The 2017 NBA trade deadline is Thursday, Feb. 23.

On Tuesday, mere hours before teams make their final big push to shake up the roster for the postseason, the Lakers decided to blow up their front office.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Lakers relieved general manager Mitch Kupchak of his duties and parted ways with Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Jim Buss.

The team also announced Magic Johnson as the new Director of Basketball Operations.

Kupchak and Buss have been at or near the top of the Lakers' food chain for almost two decades and while they both were part of the team's championship runs, they were also at the forefront of a wide variety of bad hires and questionable trades. 

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Kupchak spent five seasons as a player for the Lakers, and became the team's assistant general manager following his retirement in 1986. He succeeded Jerry West as general manager and was at the helm of the operation from 2000 until Tuesday. Kupchak was instrumental in the 2003 acquisition of Karl Malone and Gary Payton, and oversaw the trades of Shaquille O'Neal and Lamar Odom. 

Buss, the son of late Lakers owner Jerry Buss, and the brother of team president Jeanie Buss, started his tenure with the Lakers in 1998 as an apprentice to general manager Jerry West.

Buss played a role in hiring Rudy Tomjanovich to a five-year, $30 million deal in 2004 to replace the outgoing Phil Jackson. Tomjanovich would later resign midway through the season. Buss also influenced the decision to draft 17-year old center Andrew Bynum in the 2005 NBA Draft. Buss also put a deal in place to acquire Chris Paul from New Orleans for Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, but the NBA stepped in and blocked the trade.

 

During Buss and Kupchak's tenures with the Lakers, the team won five NBA titles and seven Western Conference championships. However, the team has failed to make the playoffs in each of the last three seasons and are currently 20 games below .500.

Johnson, one of the greatest players in franchise and league history, had been recently named an advisor by Jim's sister Jeanie, which resulted in Johnson publicly criticizing the job being done but Buss and Kupchak, and now the all-time great has the front office power he was clamoring for