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Magic Johnson to serve as Lakers’ GM until trade deadline passes

Sacramento Kings at Los Angeles Lakers
Will Nick Young be a former Laker in a couple of days?
(Paul Buck / EPA)

New Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson will function as the team’s general manager during trade talks in the next two days, Johnson said on Spectrum SportsNet, the Lakers’ official TV station.

The NBA trade deadline is noon Pacific time Thursday.

Johnson said he had already fielded calls from four different general managers and had several discussions about trades since starting his new role Tuesday morning.

Lakers guards Lou Williams and Nick Young could be traded by the deadline. Johnson was asked about Williams during the TV appearance.

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“I hope he wins sixth man of the year because he’s playing like that,” Johnson said on Spectrum. “No. 2, he’s a valuable guy in the locker room and on our team. No. 3, he’s got a good contract for us as a Laker organization. So if you’re going to get him, it’s going to take a lot.”

Lakers co-owner, president and governor Jeanie Buss fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and removed her brother, Jim Buss, from the post of executive vice president of basketball operations. Jim Buss remains as a part owner of the Lakers.

Minutes later, Johnson said on ESPNLA radio that he expects to have a general manager in place before the end of the season. He added that he was not involved with the Lakers’ trade discussions with the Sacramento Kings involving DeMarcus Cousins. The Kings ultimately traded Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Rob Pelinka, an agent who represented Kobe Bryant and currently represents Rockets guard James Harden, is a possibility to take over as general manager for the Lakers.

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There is not mutual interest between the Lakers and Jerry West, though his son Ryan West, the Lakers’ director of player personnel, could have a more prominent role in the organization.

Johnson plans to meet with Lakers Coach Luke Walton; Ryan West; Jesse Buss, assistant general manager/director of scouting; and Joey Buss, who runs the Lakers’ Development League team.

Staff writer Broderick Turner contributed to this report.

tania.ganguli@latimes.com

Follow Tania Ganguli on Twitter @taniaganguli


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