Magic Johnson may have officially resigned a couple weeks ago from the Los Angeles Lakers as the team’s President of Basketball Operations, but he sure seems like the ex who continues to lurk around the scenes and wants to try and play nice. That’s because, according to Johnson himself, per TMZ Sports, the Lakers legend hasn’t really stepped away from some of his duties, admitting that he talks to the team’s owner, Jeanie Buss, “almost every day,” and vows to help the franchise get better in any way possible — which includes talking to free agents this summer to help lure them to Los Angeles. Does this seem dysfunctional to anyone else?
According to the TMZ Sports interview, here’s what Magic Johnson had to say when asked about how things have changed since he stunningly stepped down before the Lakers’ last game of the regular season:
“No. The same,” Johnson said when asked if he would’ve done things any differently if he had them to do over again. “Everybody knows I love the Lakers, and so I’m gonna always help them. Like right now, I’m gonna still help them. I love my team, I love my franchise, and I love this city.
“You have to do things sometimes on your own terms. It doesn’t matter what other people think, see? And I’m that guy. But I’m still helping them. It’s almost like I never left (laughs). I’m still talking to them every day,” Johnson continued. “I’m gonna help them get the Lakers back right, you can believe that.”
“I love Jeanie,” Johnson said when asked if everything was still good between him and the Buss family. “I’ve been talking to her almost every day. I’m trying to help. Listen, I may not be in there physically, but I’m still there.”
Again, how did the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the most iconic sports brands on the planet, get to be so damn dysfunctional? More so, why the hell is Jeanie Buss allowing stuff like this to happen? You either tell Magic Johnson that he’s fully on board, or you keep things private and bring him in over the summer once there’s more stability within the front office. Plus, considering there have been rumors out that that Magic wasn’t too fond of the team’s general manager, Rob Pelinka, and wanted to fire him, this whole setup seems to undermine Pelinka’s authority to make moves, making the Lakers seem even more like a second-class organization.
As for the reason why Magic Johnson may have left the Lakers, well, in terms of actual title and day-to-day responsibilities, don’t buy into those LeBron James rumors. When asked if the four-time league MVP was, in fact, one of the reasons Johnson decided to bolt, he shut down the notion and said he loves James, and that he plans on working with him to go get another superstar this summer.
“No, no, no. LeBron was the reason? No. I love LeBron. LeBron is going to lead us to a championship, so we’re excited about what he’s going to do, and we’re also excited that he signed. It’s all good with me and LeBron, and Maverick and Rich Paul. So now all we need is keep going down the same path, get another superstar this summer and we’ll be fine.”
With Magic Johnson continuing to use the words “we” when referencing his relationship with the Lakers, one can’t help but think this thing is just going to keep getting messier. Reports say that the team is already a second option for the top free agents in this summer’s offseason class, and if there’s no clear cut leadership or stability, would any star player really want to join that kind of franchise? Probably not.
There’s been too much drama for all the wrong reasons with the Lakers since LeBron James signed last offseason, and Magic Johnson still having one foot in the door without any real title with the team only adds to the confusion and dysfunction of the team. No wonder some of the top coaching targets the Lakers want are reportedly being told not to take the job, it’s an embarrassing mess in the front office.