Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss meets with Magic Johnson, sources say

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Los Angeles Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss met with Hall of Famer and former Lakers point guard Magic Johnson on Tuesday night, sources with knowledge of the meeting told ESPN.

The exact nature of the meeting was not immediately clear, but sources said Buss has been soliciting opinions on the direction the franchise should take moving forward, after three straight losing seasons and possibly a fourth, with the Lakers already having lost 31 games this season.

Buss, Johnson, Lakers executive Linda Rambis and Johnson's longtime friend and business partner Lon Rosen were seen having dinner at a restaurant inside Staples Center before Tuesday's game against theDenver Nuggets, according to sources.

After the dinner, Buss and Magic sat next to each other to watch the Lakers' 127-121 loss to the Nuggets.

Johnson told Southern California News Group the meeting was not unique, calling Buss a "close friend" who he has had dinner with frequently the past "three or four years."

"She always wants to ask, 'What do you see, what do you think, what do you like?'" Johnson said. "We always get together. You know me. I'll break it down for her as much as I can. I love the Lakers."

Johnson, currently an analyst for ESPN's NBA Countdown, holds an ownership stake in the Los Angeles Dodgersand has been close to the Buss family since he was drafted by the Lakers in 1979. Jeanie Buss worked for her father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, at the Forum in Inglewood in those days.

Jim Buss, a co-owner and the Lakers' executive vice president of basketball operations, has said publicly he would step down from his post if the team is not heading in the right direction by the end of this season.

Jeanie Buss has repeatedly said she will hold her brother and general manager Mitch Kupchak to that timeline.

There had been speculation former Lakers coach Phil Jackson, now the president of the New York Knicks, would be an option to take over the Lakers. But Jackson and Buss announced they had ended their four-year engagement shortly in late December. Sources said that announcement had no effect on or correlation to the timeline Jim Buss has set for the franchise or Jeanie Buss' decision-making on it.

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