It’s an idea joked about by plenty of sportswriters since the shocking resignation of Magic Johnson — that LeBron James could take over as the next president of the Los Angeles Lakers.
But is it really that crazy to think about?
James already has a reputation as one of the most involved NBA players, pushing for both the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers to sign his preferred role players, pushing out coaches when they clash, and even serving as coach on the floor. So while there is no precedent for a player jumping into a front office role on the team, it may not be such a crazy idea for LeBron to be given at least some level of power in the team’s decision making. A player/president/general manager, so to speak.
There had already been hints that LeBron James would be playing a bigger role in shaping the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. After a disappointing first season of his tenure, James said last week that he would be doing more to attract free agents to Los Angeles as the team looks to make a rapid rebuild.
“I’ve never played fantasy basketball,” James told Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. “But I will be as active as I need to be for this franchise to get better. That’s why I came here. I came here to win. And obviously, we need to get better, as far as our personnel. We have an opportunity to get better. And there’s a lot of talent out there, and a lot of guys that can help our franchise. So I’ll be as active as I need to be for us to get better and go from there.”
Just announce Lebron as team president and get it over with.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 10, 2019
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 10, 2019
There is a precedent for NBA players serving as coach during the season, though you have to go back to Dave Cowens, who played both roles for the Boston Celtics in the 1978-79 season. The player-coach is something of a relic of the past, though LeBron James already does play something of that role on an informal basis as the floor general for his teams.
As ESPN noted, Cowens himself had some candid advice for any team looking to bring back the player-coach role.
“Don’t do it,” said Cowens, who led the Celtics to a 29-53 record in his year as coach. “It was a bad idea then, and it’s a bad idea now.”
It's been "weeks" since Luke Walton and Magic Johnson have had a meaningful conversation, sources tell @ramonashelburne.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 10, 2019
So while the idea of LeBron James serving as player-coach is likely out, and there’s a slim chance he actually succeeds Magic Johnson as president of the Lakers, it may not be so crazy to think that the team’s $153.3 million man will have some kind of decision-making power for the remainder of his time with the team.