Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditThursday, June 30, 2022

Articles tagged: Magic Johnson

Report: Magic Johnson wanted to fire Lakers GM Rob Pelinka

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson says he will be happier serving as an ambassador to the Los Angeles Lakers rather than the team’s president of basketball operations, and that could have a lot to do with the power he wanted — but was not granted — within the organization.

On ESPN’s “First Take” Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Smith reported that Johnson wanted to fire Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka before he decided to step down.

“Magic Johnson obviously wanted to fire Luke Walton. She (Jeanie Buss) was going to let Magic Johnson do whatever he wanted to do with basketball operations as it pertains to the coach. Pelinka is an entirely different matter,” Smith said, as transcribed by Jorge Alonso of Bro Bible. “He’s there because of his relationship with Kobe. Magic inherited him like Magic inherited Luke Walton, wasn’t necessarily the guy Magic wanted. I was told Magic Johnson walked into there and talked with them about wanting to get rid of not just Luke Walton but Rob Pelinka as well. And that’s when Jeanie Buss got her back up.”

Smith said Pelinka and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss both reached out to him and denied that Johnson wanted Pelinka gone, but he said that is what he and several other NBA reporters have been told. Smith also added that it is believed Pelinka was the one whose comments led to The Athletic running a story labeling Johnson an “absentee executive.”

Pelinka took over as GM of the Lakers in Feb. 2017, which is around the same time Johnson was hired as president of basketball operations. The relationship between Magic and Buss appears to still be on solid ground, but it seems as if the owner did not trust Johnson to take full control over the Lakers’ roster and personnel decisions.

Portland’s Evan Turner cracks great joke as Magic Johnson steps down

Evan Turner

Magic Johnson’s surprising resignation on Tuesday caught everyone off-guard, though one person was quick-thinking in response.

Evan Turner, whose Portland Trail Blazers were set to play the Los Angeles Lakers, recognized he had a limited opportunity to seek an autograph from the legend and wanted to seize the moment.

Johnson probably would have signed an autograph for Turner if asked, though he had some other bigger things to handle, such as actually letting his bosses know that he had resigned.

Might Lakers keep Luke Walton as head coach after Magic news?

Luke Walton

Magic Johnson dropped a shocking bomb on Tuesday night by announcing he was stepping down as the Los Angeles Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations. Johnson announced the news to the media, saying he hadn’t even told Jeanie Buss or Rob Pelinka because he couldn’t face her and tell her the disappointing news.

Johnson’s announcement comes on the final day of the regular season for the Lakers, which will mark their sixth straight season without making the playoffs. It also comes right before the expected firing of Luke Walton and could result in a major change of direction for the franchise.

For months the expectation has been that Walton would be fired. But Johnson said he couldn’t be the bad guy and fire Walton, which played a role in his decision to step away.

Buss has always supported Walton and fought for his job, though she was willing to give the front office the power to fire him. Now that Magic is gone, the decision may fall to Jeanie or Pelinka, one of whom supports the coach. It’s conceivable that he could keep his job.

Though there is now a chance Walton keeps his job, we probably still should not consider it likely.

LeBron James is the franchise’s superstar and his team has long supported a change of coaches. Even LeBron has seemingly shown disrespect to Walton during the season. As long as James is on the team, the Lakers would probably be best off hiring a coach he supports.

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.

Watch: Magic Johnson has learned his lesson about tampering rules

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson has had such a difficult time keeping his mouth shut about players from other teams that his tampering charges have become something of a running joke in the NBA, but it appears that he might be learning his lesson.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ president was on hand to watch Murray State standout Ja Morant in the Ohio Valley Tournament on Friday night, but when talking to a reporter, he managed to keep the name out of his mouth because “they’re amateurs.”

See? He’s learning.

Johnson has been fined for tampering before and got caught up in another controversy recently, though he was cleared of any wrongdoing. Maybe the message has found its way through to him.

Nets fans taunt Magic Johnson over D’Angelo Russell trade

D’Angelo Russell had another big game in Wednesday night’s win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Brooklyn Nets fans want to make sure Magic Johnson knows how much they appreciate it.

Russell is enjoying a breakout year in his second season with Brooklyn, averaging 20.5 points and 6.8 assists per game. He has carried the Nets to victory in multiple games and is one of the main reasons they are in position to make the playoffs for the first time in four years. When Russell was at the free throw line late in Wednesday’s game, some Nets fans began chanting, “Thank you, Magic!”

Trading Russell was one of Johnson’s first moves when he took over the Lakers’ basketball operations department. Johnson was critical of Russell in public and said he had to find better leadership at the point guard position. The Lakers eventually drafted Lonzo Ball, and you have to wonder if they would be better off with Russell now.

Of course, Russell created a lot of problems for himself in L.A. with the drama involving him and Nick Young. Regardless of that, Johnson is always going to be questioned for the trade as long as Russell continues to play at a high level.

NBA says Magic Johnson did not commit tampering violation with Ben Simmons

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson has been no stranger to tampering violations since he took over the Los Angeles Lakers’ basketball operations department, but the NBA has determined that he was not guilty of any such activity with Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons.

On Tuesday, the NBA said it concluded that it was, in fact, the 76ers who reached out to the Lakers about a potential meeting between Johnson and Simmons. Magic simply responded to the inquiry, which does not constitute tampering.

Johnson said Sunday that he would like to meet with Simmons to share some tips on becoming a better player, as the two have similar styles and are both big guards. Sixers GM Elton Brand said he blocked the meeting from happening, and the NBA seemed to escalate things by saying they would look into whether the contact between Simmons and the Lakers was inappropriate. The Lakers later revealed that it was the 76ers who reached out to them, and Brand would not give them the written permission they needed for Johnson to meet with Simmons.

Brand has since tried to put the controversy to bed, and the NBA’s statement should help both sides do that.

Elton Brand called Magic Johnson to apologize over Simmons debacle

Elton Brand

Elton Brand called Magic Johnson to apologize over the Ben Simmons debacle that played out on Monday, according to a report.

On Sunday, Magic had said that he wanted to meet with Simmons and share some tips on how the big guard can become better. Brand, the Philadelphia 76ers’ first-year GM, said on the radio Monday that he blocked such a meeting from happening.

The way the sequence played out made some wonder whether Magic, who is a Hall of Fame player turned front office executive with the Los Angeles Lakers, was interfering with another team’s player, as he’s been known to do. What seemed to escalate the matter was the NBA saying they would investigate any potential inappropriate contact between the Lakers and Simmons.

After getting dragged into a public issue, the Lakers issued a statement to say that Philly actually reached out initially to say Simmons wanted to talk with Magic about his playing career. The Lakers responded by saying they needed written permission from the Sixers, and Brand apparently declined. Clearly Brand was not the original 76ers employee who reached out to the Lakers.

With the whole thing going public and making the Lakers look bad, Brand called Magic to apologize, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

Maybe this apology can help everyone put the whole controversy to bed.

Sixers GM says he already rejected Magic Johnson-Ben Simmons meeting

Ben Simmons

There appears to be some tension developing between the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers.

On Sunday, Lakers president Magic Johnson raised some eyebrows when he said he wanted to spend time during the offseason with 76ers guard Ben Simmons — with approval from the league and the Philadelphia organization — to trade some “big guard” secrets.

Many noted that Johnson’s comments put the Sixers in a tough spot. Johnson put the meeting into the public domain, leaving the Sixers to either accept it and risk their star guard developing a relationship with the head of a rival organization, or reject it and potentially upset him.

On Monday, Sixers GM Elton Brand fired back, saying that Lakers GM Rob Pelinka had tried to set up a meeting during the offseason a full month ago and Philadelphia said no.

If Brand is telling the truth, it means Johnson went public with a potential Simmons meeting a month after being told no privately. That doesn’t reflect very well on him and the public comments feel like an attempt to increase pressure on the 76ers to allow it when they have every right not to. It’s also a pretty bold move from a guy who has developed a reputation for tampering.

This has not been Johnson’s best week. He may want to lay low for a while.

Magic Johnson says Pelicans negotiated in bad faith in Anthony Davis talks

Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers know they got played by Dell Demps and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Lakers president Magic Johnson openly said Sunday that the Pelicans did not engage in good faith negotiations with his team in Anthony Davis trade talks.

Johnson is only saying what everyone already knew. By the trade deadline, the Pelicans weren’t even calling back on the Lakers’ latest offer, though it was the closest to what New Orleans was demanding. It’s also widely believed that it was the Pelicans who were leaking the nature of the offers to the media, with some suggesting it was part of a conspiracy theory to destabilize their potential trade partner. Of course, negotiations are a two-way street, and many felt that the Lakers’ initial offer wasn’t good enough to be taken seriously either.

Realistically, the Pelicans had no reason to trade Davis now with the Lakers as the lone bidders. Los Angeles was taken for a ride, and there will certainly be more serious negotiations with a wider range of teams in the summer.