Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: Magic 'would be a great owner'
Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak used to work for Magic Johnson, in a way. Johnson was an investor in the Lakers' ownership group before he sold his stake last year, but Kupchak said Johnson "never once" tried to dictate what moves Kupchak should make.
If Johnson were to succeed in buying the Dodgers, or in buying a share of an NFL team that would play in Los Angeles, Kupchak said the general manager of the team could rest assured he would not be treated as a figurehead by Johnson.
"He would be a great owner," Kupchak said.
After Johnson announced his pursuit of the Dodgers on Friday, Kupchak spoke with Times staff writer Ben Bolch:
"I've heard [Johnson's] name associated with the Dodgers and the football team here in town. We spoke at least twice this week. He's no longer an equity partner of the Lakers. So I know he's sitting on a pile of cash and maybe that's why I take his phone calls as much as I still do.
"He's also been incredibly successful, not only in this city. My guess is as an entrepreneur and somebody with the energy he has, his love for sports, I would not be surprised if he gets involved with either one of those franchises. I don't know any more than that.
"If he becomes an owner of another franchise, just based on my relationship with him over the last 10 years as a general manager, he's been incredibly supportive as an owner. Never once during our conversations did he say, 'Mitch, this is something you should do.' We just would talk basketball and he would make suggestions. He would ask me what I thought.
"So whether that's in baseball or football, I assume that relationship would exist with the next general manager in that franchise. So he would be a great owner."
— Bill Shaikin
Photo: Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak takes questions from the media during a news conference on Friday in El Segundo. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times