Magic Johnson has been arguably the Los Angeles Lakers’ most vocal critic over the past two seasons. Last year, he blasted several Lakers players in an epic Twitter rant urging fans to stop blaming Mike D’Antoni for the team’s struggles. Magic still isn’t blaming D’Antoni this season. Instead, he believes owner Jim Buss is the problem.
“This is what happens when you make the wrong decisions, two coaching wrong decisions, giving Steve Nash that deal, it’s backfired,” Johnson told the LA Times on Wednesday.
“The biggest problem they’re going to have right now … you’ve got to get a guy like Jerry West to be the face of the team. … You’ve got to have someone helping Jim. He’s got to quit trying to prove a point to everybody that he can do it on his own, get his ego out of it, and just say, ‘Let me get someone beside me to help achieve the goals I want.’”
Magic said he believes Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is “great” but that he is not given enough power. By targeting someone like West for a front office position, he believes the Lakers can attract big-name free agents like the Miami Heat have.
“You need to get someone like Jerry to be the face, so agents are comfortable, players are comfortable, knowing the Lakers are going for a championship. … Look what Pat Riley did in Miami,” Johnson said. “If Pat Riley’s not there, you don’t get LeBron to buy in.
Because he believes the 2013-2014 Lakers are a lost cause, Magic also agrees with Charles Barkley that Kobe Bryant should sit out the remainder of the season.
“He’s got to,” Johnson said, adding that the Lakers should have taken their time signing Kobe to an extension. “What is he coming back to? He’s not going to be able to stop the pick and roll, all the layups the Lakers are giving up. He’s been hurt twice, give him the whole year to get healthy.”
Almost exactly a year ago, Magic declared that it was “over” for the Lakers. He was right. He’ll probably be right again this time around.