Magic Johnson Doesn’t Hold Back While Discussing Lakers’ Coaching Job

Lakers legend Magic Johnson

Getty Lakers legend Magic Johnson

The Los Angeles Lakers need a new head coach and franchise legend Magic Johnson knows what he wants to see from the next man in charge of the purple and gold.

During an interview with David Aldridge of The Athletic, Johnson said the Lakers need to hire someone who will hold the players “accountable.”

“I think that, to me, they’re showing you, right now. Probably besides Erik Spoelstra, all the other three that’s in the final four are ex-players. So, I think that says a lot about these young ex-players who command respect right away, who have done it before. I’m not saying it has to be an ex-player, but I’m saying you have to look at what’s going on. Most of the guys who are in the playoffs,” Johnson said.

“But the most important thing to me is accountability. They must hold everybody, one through 15, accountable. And we got away from accountability. Guys never talked about that this season. It was always somebody else’s fault. I hated that. Never, ‘Hey, I played bad. Hey, It’s on me.’ So whether it’s an ex-player or not, but the trend is ex-players. But if not, I want a coach that’s going to hold everybody accountable. And, so, that’s what I would like to see.”

The Lakers fired Frank Vogel on April 11. Darvin Ham, Terry Stotts and Kenny Atkinson have interviewed for the vacant position. Los Angeles missed the playoffs in 2021-22 despite having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, three future Hall of Famers.

Johnson on Lakers’ 2021-22 Season

The Lakers had the second-best preseason odds to win the title. However, they won only 33 games.

“See, we, you had expectations, right? Everybody was saying the Lakers, with Russell, man, we’re talking about NBA Finals. We’re going to be one of the favorites. So, it’s definitely got to be driving them crazy — it should be driving all three of them crazy,” Johnson said. “Because we didn’t meet those expectations.

“We failed. Now it’s, what are we going to do to make sure it doesn’t happen next season? To your point, which is the biggest point, who’s going to lead that effort, coaching-wise? And then, so once a coach is in place, what are we going to do now about the roster? It’s really important that they get the right person, and then make, hopefully, the right roster moves. We know it can’t be a lot, but it can be something. I guess they’ve got to make those decisions.”

According to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic, Ham “appears to have made the strongest impression” on the Lakers. The former NBA player is currently an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Lakers like Ham

The Lakers liked what they heard from Ham during his interview. Ham served as an assistant with the Lakers from 2011 to 2013.

“In terms of the Lakers’ preferences, sources say team officials have prioritized a coach who can command respect and authority from the locker room and who has a strong enough presence and voice to manage the varying roles and relationships across the roster,” Charania and Amick reported. “Those characteristics bode well for Ham’s candidacy. Throughout assistant coaching stops with the Lakers, Hawks and Bucks, Ham has been known for his no-nonsense style and ability to resonate with his players — attributes that have stood out in his communication with the Lakers thus far as well, sources said.”

Ham won the 2004 title with the Detroit Pistons over the Lakers as a player. He finished his NBA career with averages of 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds.

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