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#pounditTuesday, January 31, 2023

Magic Johnson has 1 big criticism of LeBron James

Magic Johnson looking on

Magic Johnson was not about to let former co-star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have all the fun when it comes to ragging on LeBron James.

The retired L.A. Lakers great Johnson voiced a criticism this week of James with the team on the brink of missing the play-in tournament. Johnson said that James deserves blame for not bringing DeMar DeRozan to the Lakers.

“The blame he’s gotta take is the fact that DeRozan ended up in Chicago and not with the Lakers,” Johnson said of James on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “DeRozan wanted to play for the Lakers and when I got the call from his agent, [Aaron Goodwin], I called the Lakers, said, ‘Hey [DeRozan] wants to come home.’

“We could’ve made that deal,” Johnson added about the Lakers. “But when Russell [Westbrook] and LeBron started talking, that’s when they nixed that deal and went with Westbrook… If you signed DeRozan and you only trade [Kyle] Kuzma for Buddy Hield, we would be playing in the Western Conference championship this year with those two guys.”

The five-time All-Star and L.A. native DeRozan was a free agent this past summer. DeRozan himself has said that he wanted to and was expecting to join the Lakers but indicated that they did him dirty. He ended up signing with the Chicago Bulls instead and is averaging a career-high 28.0 points per game this season. The Lakers would have had some financial hoops to jump through to land DeRozan but likely could have done so considering that they “successfully” absorbed Westbrook’s bloated contract instead.

As for Johnson, his criticism of James here is noteworthy because he is close with James and was even credited for bringing James to the Lakers as a free agent in 2018. Johnson’s criticism also comes just one day after Abdul-Jabbar went after James as well (albeit for more off-court reasons).

H/T New York Post


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