While appearing on ESPN's First Take to discuss why he left the Lakers, Magic gave LeBron a glowing review, saying he's certain that the three-time National Basketball Association champion can win his fourth in L.A. The NBA great confirmed on ESPN's "First Take" that he received pushback regarding his decision to fire former head coach Luke Walton and said he felt backstabbed by general manager Rob Pelinka. Now, not just the Lakers' office anymore.
It was just days before the Lakers were set to end their bad 2018-2019 campaign when Magic Johnson told reporters he was stepping down, something he didn't inform Jeanie Buss or Rob Pelinka at the time. "So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball now, just not in the Lakers office anymore".
Johnson said he had no previous relationship with Pelinka, who was an National Basketball Association agent for players such as Kobe Bryant before being hired by the Lakers alongside Johnson in 2017. "Magic's not in the office, '" Johnson told First Take.
Johnson said he resigned April 9 after the organization pushed back on his decision to fire Walton.
With that said, Johnson also shared some frustration he had with owner Jeanie Buss, noting her refusal to allow him to fire head coach Luke Walton as "the straw that broke the camel's back". "The way he approaches the game and practices, every player now is like 'wow, I've got to get better'".
Though Johnson told reporters that he initially wanted the freedom to have fun again (and tweet like an AP wire service), there were rumblings of a falling out between general manager Rob Pelinka and the former Lakers great. Great guy. And so when I looked up, I said, "Wait a minute". In discussing the failed Anthony Davis deal, Johnson had the nerve to blame ex-Pelicans GM Dell Demps for leaking the Lakers trade offers, as if there weren't people inside House Lakers with the knowledge and motivation for those details to become public. "Now I got Tim involved".
"You can't run a corporation like this", Johnson said. She said 'you have the power to make the decisions'. It's time for me to go. "I make more money doing that than becoming the president of the Lakers.'" Johnson said.
"You can't have everybody think that they can have a voice or an opinion about the final decision". So my job is to get you ready for this position.' I was gonna help elevate him to the president's position. It's yet another development in a Lakers season that has been shrouded in controversy and incompetence.
"I've got things happening being said behind my back".
The Lakers compiled their best record in six years this season, but were eliminated from playoff contention by Russell in a March 22 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.