After failing to make the NBA playoffs this season, Los Angeles Lakers Basketball Operations President Magic Johnson is stepping down from his front office position. The former Lakers star announced the news in a spontaneous press conference, highlighting the Ben Simmons mishap and the significance of his relationship with owner Jeanie Buss as his decision’s key points.
Back in February, Simmons approached Johnson for point guard advice, raising eyebrows in the league after the Lakers were fined a total of $550,000 in regards to the NBA’s strict tampering rules. Johnson claimed that the situation was hurtful as they made him “look like the bad guy.” He also noted Dwyane Wade’s retirement and how he was legally barred from celebrating or attending his ceremony due to his job title.
Talking about Buss, Johnson revealed that the Lakers owner was still unaware of his choice to quit. ”Somebody’s going to have to tell my boss because I knew I couldn’t be face-to-face and tell her,” he said. He touched on the importance of their sibling-like relationship, stating, “I think that with her and I, I wanna always preserve our relationship. I think I had more fun when I was able to be the big brother and ambassador.”
The Hall of Famer’s decision could have a massive impact on the franchise, with ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski tweeting that the Lakers coaching staff is fully expected to be fired after the team’s final game of the season. Additionally, he recalled Johnson’s inability to fully commit to working with the Lakers in the last 16 months. “Running an NBA team takes a tremendous commitment of time and energy,” he wrote.
Watch the rest of the press conference and read up on Woj’s tweets below.
In other news, watch this heartfelt retirement tribute to Dwyane Wade.
Lakers coaching staff fully expected to be fired in hours after the final game of the season. They had believed they were gone for months. Now? Magic quits in public, saying he’s too scared to tell Jeanie Buss face-to-face. What an embarrassing episode for a historic franchise.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2019