Magic Johnson Responds to Idea of Being Next Lakers Coach

magic johnson lebron james

Getty Magic Johnson with LeBron James.

The Los Angeles Lakers are heating up their head coaching search, and some notable names are getting linked to the job. However, one name we can definitively rule out is Magic Johnson.

The Lakers legend and Hall of Famer was recently asked whether he’d have interest in the job and he made it clear that he wouldn’t even consider it.

“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Thank you, though,” Johnson told TMZ on May 14 when asked whether he would coach the Lakers again.

Johnson had a brief stint as the Lakers’ head coach during the 1993-94 season, but lasted only 16 games before abruptly resigning. It wasn’t the only time he’d resigned from a key role with the franchise. He was the team’s president of basketball operations for a little more than two years, from 2017 to 2019, before resigning.

Though Johnson is one of the greatest players in NBA history, it’s hard to imagine the Lakers would trust him with an important leadership position again. For his part, he’s still rooting for the team to land the right coach.

“I couldn’t tell ya,” Johnson said. “It’s up to the Lakers and Jeanie [Buss] and Rob Pelinka. I hope they get a good one, though.”

Latest on Los Angeles Lakers HC Search

The Lakers are taking their time with their latest head coaching search amid hirings at the Phoenix Suns, Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets. The Washington Wizards also have a vacancy to fill.

However, they have been making some progress. According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Jovan Buha, three names have emerged as the Lakers’ targets for the head coaching job.

“As the Los Angeles Lakers begin contacting head coaching candidates and scheduling interviews this week, JJ Redick, James Borrego and Sam Cassell have emerged as the franchise’s initial leading targets, league sources told The Athletic,” Buha and Charania wrote in a May 14 column.

Out of the three, Borrego is the only one with previous head coaching experience. He was an interim head coach for the Orlando Magic and then spent four seasons as the Hornets’ head coach.

Cassell has been an assistant since 2009 and was a player for over a decade. Considering his experience, it makes sense that his next step would be a head coaching job. Redick, who played 15 years in the league, has no coaching experience in the NBA but is close with LeBron James.

Who Should Los Angeles Lakers Hire?

Of the coaching candidates who have been linked to the Lakers, Redick is the most intriguing. He’s a true boom-or-bust candidate. He clearly knows a lot about basketball, but would he be able to navigate the drama that comes with being a head coach?

“Despite his lack of coaching experience at the NBA level, he’s regarded as one of the most promising prospects on the market,” Charania and Buha wrote.

Borrego, previously a head coach, has never led a team to the playoffs.

Cassell has a great resume. He’s a former All-Star and a three-time NBA champion as a player.

“Cassell is well-respected by players and has a strong reputation with player development,” Charania and Buha wrote.

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