Lakers: Stephen A. Smith Sounds off on Magic Johnson’s LA Exit

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08: Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Earvin "Magic" Johnson addresses the crowd as he honors victims of last Sunday's mass shooting before the team's preseason game against the Sacramento Kings at T-Mobile Arena on October 8, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. On October 1, Stephen Paddock killed at least 58 people and injured more than 450 after he opened fire on a large crowd at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. The massacre is one of the deadliest mass shooting events in U.S. history. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Magic Johnson abruptly left his post as President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers this past spring.

In an impromptu presser at Staples Center in April, Johnson let everyone know he was gone.

“I like to be free,” Johnson said.

“I’ve got a great life… what am I doing? I’ve got a beautiful life. I’m gonna go back to that beautiful life. I’m looking forward to it. Somebody is going to have to tell my boss, because I know she’s going to be sick. But I knew I couldn’t face her face-to-face and tell her.”

“We thank him for his work these past two years as our President of Basketball Operations,” the the Lakers said in a statement, “and wish him, Cookie, Andre, EJ and Elisa all the best with their next steps. He will always be not only a Lakers icon, but our family.”

Via Twitter, Lakers CEO, Jeannie Buss stated: “Earvin, I loved working side by side with you. You’ve brought us a long way. We will continue the journey. We love you.”

What went wrong?


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“I think the only mistake that Magic made is when he first took the job, he said that he was going to be all in,” ESPN First Take’s Stephen A. Smith said on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning.

“And when he departed from the job, he was like: ‘I’m an overseer.’ So there’s some inconsistency with his verbiage there. But I always knew what Magic was going to do. Magic ain’t gonna be on the phone calling General Managers all day.”

Johnson’s departure caught a lot of people by surprise including LeBron James. James discussed it on his HBO Special, “The Shop,” in the spring.

“I found out from Randy [Mims],” said James.

“During my stretching session, my right hand [man] says to me: ‘Magic just stepped down.’ And I’m like: Man get the f*** out my face you’re bulls****ing. I go and check my phone, I look at it, the shit happened.”Personally for me, I came here to be apart of the Lakers organization, having a conversation with Magic. So it was just weird for him to just be like: ‘I’m outta here,’ and not even have no like: ‘Hey ‘Bron, kiss my ass, I’m gone.’ It wasn’t even that.”

The Lakers and James did not have the season that they would have hoped for. They didn’t make the NBA Playoffs and James injured his groin on Christmas Day.

That changed the trajectory of the Los Angeles Lakers’ season.

The initial stretch of games with James on the sidelines was a rough one for the Lakers.

His injury occurred in a Christmas Day matchup against the Golden State Warriors and the team was able to pull off an impressive 127-101 win. From that point on, they dropped five of their next six games entering the current week.

James could have sat out for the rest of the season. or “until the end of February, or even longer.”

He eventually came back at the end of January and the Los Angeles Lakers still did not make the NBA Playoffs.

This summer and in Johnson’s absence, Pelinka and the Lakers put a team together that is looking to compete for an NBA Championship this season.

Already having LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso on their roster, LA added some vets Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker to their roster.

NBA training camp begins this month and the NBA’s regular season begins in October.


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