ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has the answer.
“He got tired of the nonsense,” Smith told Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning.
“Rob Pelinka the General Manager for the Los Angeles Lakers was talking about Magic behind his back as far as Magic Johnson was concerned. We have all heard that, but Magic Johnson firmly believed it. And just the chirping talking and the chirping, you know; little things.”
In his role as President of Basketball Operations of the Los Angeles Lakers, Magic Johnson set the bar pretty high for himself:
“If I can’t deliver, I’m going to step down myself,” the NBA Hall of Famer turned NBA executive said last year.
It seemed that Rob Pelinka began finding every way to make that a reality as per Stephen A. Smith.
According to Smith, Pelinka was a bit of a bully and it showed in the work place.
“Like, walking into the practice facility [and saying]: ‘where’s Magic, where’s Magic,” Smith told Ebro in the Morning.
“And it was like a joke to highlight that once again, Magic wasn’t here, Magic was at his office. And Magic’s whole deal was that, ‘Listen, I’m an overseer.’ You go pound that pavement, I’ll make those decisions when it’s time to make those decisions. I’m running a $600 million business, I’ve vested my interest, my association to some degree. I’m leaving those obligations to other people. I’ll be around enough, you can get me on the phone. But in the end, what I need you to do, I’m not going to be working the phones like that.’”
Magic Johnson stepped down from his post before the last game of the Lakers’ regular season in April.
It 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.
The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.
What changed their course? There were distractions in year one of the LeBron experiment.
Injuries played a role beyond James. Insert: Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo.
This summer, Pelinka and the Lakers put a team together that is looking to compete for an NBA Championship this season.
If you’re keeping score at home: Six Lakers players returned from last season’s roster. Insert LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso.
LA also added some vets. In addition to Davis, Lakers newcomers include the now injured DeMarcus Cousins, Dwight Howard, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook, Troy Daniels and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker.
Anthony Davis told me that he’s ready for the season. “I feel good,” Davis told me.
He wants to compete for a championship.
What’s the plan?
“Do whatever I can to help this team win a championship,” Anthony Davis told me.
“That’s the main goal. That’s our goal and we are going to come in with the mindset that we’re all thinking. This is the year.”
The Lakers begin training camp this month. The regular season begins next month.