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#pounditTuesday, August 4, 2020

Magic Johnson steps down as Lakers president

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson dropped some shocking news on the NBA world before the Los Angeles Lakers’ final game of the disastrous 2018-2019 season. Johnson announced that he is stepping down as Lakers President of Basketball Operations.

Johnson held an impromptu press conference on Tuesday night before the Lakers hosted the Portland Trail Blazers in their final game of the season to announce the news, which may have caught many within the Lakers off-guard. He apparently did not give advanced warning to Jeanie Buss or Rob Pelinka that he would be stepping down.

Johnson announced the news the same day he was criticized for not speaking with head coach Luke Walton in weeks. He also had been described by The Athletic as an “absentee executive.”

The criticism may have taken its toll on Johnson. He said he enjoyed things more when he was an ambassador and did not have an active executive role with the team.

Johnson also wanted to fire Luke Walton as head coach, though Buss seemingly supported the young coach. It’s unclear whether this will result in Walton maintaining his job.

Johnson took the front office job with the Lakers in Feb. 2017 and has been in his position for two years, the same amount of time since Rob Pelinka took over as GM. Under his watch, the Lakers were able to sign LeBron James and reshape the roster, though the franchise’s playoff drought has extended to six seasons.

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