Mike Dunleavy Sr. is the head basketball coach at Tulane, but he has spent the majority of his career coaching in the NBA. In fact, he coached the Lakers from 1990-92, which means he coached Magic Johnson, who has been named the team’s president of basketball operations.
Dunleavy thought it was a home run hire.
“Magic Johnson has got a great IQ for the game,” Dunleavy said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “He was one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached, one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. From everything I can see, he’s jumped in with both feet in regards of working hard and studying and (determining) the direction that he wants to go with the team. It’s going to take a while. It’s not going to happen overnight. But the Lakers in the past have been built on the reputation of Dr. Buss and being a real first-class organization, which they’ve been, and they’ve had that kind of cache. The move to Magic kind of brings that back as well. I think Magic, a lot of players have grown up certainly hearing about him or knowing about him or being able to go back and watch film about him. But clearly he’s been in the spotlight just like Michael Jordan has or Larry Bird. I think he’ll have a positive impact.”
Johnson, though, will have a steep climb. The Lakers haven’t won more than 27 games since 2012-13 and will have to compete with the likes of Golden State and other super teams for NBA titles.
“The Golden State Warriors’ situation is a little bit unusual,” Dunleavy said. “First of all, they’re a really good organization, and they built that team from the very beginning through their draft choices and some of the deals that they’ve made. They got a little bit lucky last year (with the) windfall. (They won) a championship (and finished) runner-up, and it just happened to be in the year of a new contract with TV that put a bunch of money into the market place. A team like the Warriors would never have room for a max player except one time, and that was going to be last year based on how things played out, and they were able to get Kevin Durant. I think the system will get back to being a system that you have to manage well in order to put yourself in position to get really good players through free agency and to manage your cap. Right now, there’s probably a year or two period where all that new money coming into the system has to be managed and spent. There’s minimums with what you have to spend and so the first couple years here under this new contract will be interesting to see how it plays out.”