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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Weeks of speculation about a possible Anthony Davis deal clearly had some effect on the young Los Angeles Lakers, and team president Magic Johnson is going to try to smooth some things over after no trade came to fruition.
According to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Johnson is set to fly to Philadelphia this weekend to meet with the team and discuss the situation. Johnson wants to tell the Lakers to focus on the goal the rest of the season and remind them that the NBA is a business while also allowing anyone who wishes to speak the opportunity to do so.
Johnson has sensed that the trade rumors have negatively impacted the team in recent weeks. It’s particularly true of young players such as Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram, who are still very young but had to play through constant trade speculation.
Before Thursday night, the Lakers had lost six of eight dating back to Jan. 19, culminating in a very ugly 136-94 loss at Indiana two days before the deadline as the Davis speculation peaked. That Indiana game featured fans chanting about the rumors at one young player, and it led LeBron James to admit that some of his teammates were struggling with the rumors. Those rumors will quiet down a bit for the time being, but with the Lakers a game and a half out of the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, they have work to do and can’t dwell on what did or didn’t happen before the deadline.
The Los Angeles Dodgers broke out one of their big guns for their free agent pitch to Bryce Harper.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan and Tim Brown, Harper has been meeting with some teams in Nevada ahead of the Winter Meetings, which are being held in Las Vegas beginning on Sunday. They say Dodgers minority owner Magic Johnson led the pitch to Harper. They also say that the Chicago White Sox had Hall of Famer Jim Thome assist them with their pitch for the free agent.
Harper is one of the most anticipated free agents in baseball history.
Only 26, Harper may just be entering his prime. He already is a six-time All-Star, league MVP, and former Rookie of the Year. He has 184 career home runs. Sure, he’s had two seasons where he batted in the .240s that were cut short by injuries, but few players in the world can match his skill and potential.
It feels like all that potential may be unlocked on his next stop, which is why so many teams want in on him.
In addition to the Dodgers and White Sox, the Nationals, Yankees, Phillies, Cubs, Padres, Astros and Cardinals are expected to be among the teams showing interest in the slugger.
Magic Johnson has spoken, and he’s given assurances regarding Luke Walton.
Johnson spoke with three Los Angeles Times reporters about the status of Walton, who is in his third season as the Los Angeles Lakers’ head coach. Johnson told the LA Times reporters that Walton will finish the season as the team’s head coach, though he did give a caveat, leaving the door open for a firing if things go haywire.
The talk about Walton’s job status came up after a report said Johnson laid into Walton during a meeting. Johnson says he and Walton are “all good” despite the meeting.
This seems to mesh with a report from Friday that said ownership still supports Walton and that the coach’s job is not in danger.
The Lakers enter their game on Sunday night 4-5 having won two in a row.
The Los Angeles Lakers have not gotten off to the start they had hoped for when they signed LeBron James over the summer, and it sounds like president of basketball operations Magic Johnson is already losing his patience.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin report that Johnson laid into head coach Luke Walton in a meeting on Tuesday after the Lakers lost consecutive road games to the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Johnson’s tone in the meeting was described as “aggressive,” and some within the organization say it was consistent with his “volatile management style” and the way he has handled Walton and the coaching staff. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who has been outspoken with her support of Walton, was made aware of the tense nature of the meeting.
The Lakers responded by grinding out a 114-113 home win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, and those close to Walton said there was a major feeling of relief that the team did not take a three-game losing streak into a tough stretch that includes upcoming games against the Portland Trail Blazers and Toronto Raptors.
Expectations are obviously sky-high now that LeBron is a Laker, but the team’s 3-5 start should not come as a shock. James and his teammates also started slow when he joined the Miami Heat and returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Both teams eventually captured NBA titles.
Veterans have reportedly been frustrated with the way Walton is shuffling lineups, but his job hasn’t been easy with Lonzo Ball on a minutes restriction following offseason knee surgery and two players having served suspensions for for their roles in a brawl earlier this season.
While the meeting between Johnson and Walton may have been nothing more than frustration boiling over, there’s no question Walton deserves to be among a collection of NBA coaches who are considered on the hot seat. The pressure to win with LeBron is tremendous, and he could be the first to go if the Lakers can’t find ways to do that.