Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were unbelievable basketball players in their own right, but the two became legends for their showdowns on the hardwood. From the NCAA Championship to the NBA Finals, the two superstars brought out the best in themselves and singlehandedly revived not just the NBA, but the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
Johnson has returned to the Lakers as the team’s new president of basketball operations, and Bird serves as an executive with his hometown Pacers. With both now in the league, it’s almost fitting that Johnson’s first major showdown over the negotiation table sounds like it will be with Bird.
The two already talked about a possible trade involving Pacers superstar Paul George before the trade deadline, and during comments made to fans and the media at the “Lakers All Access” event Monday night, Johnson made it sound like those are discussions the two plan to revisit (via Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News):
“We laughed about it,” Johnson said. “We only talked two or three minutes about possibilities of a trade. It was more geared toward later on, not at that moment. It was really just saying ‘Hi and looking forward to talking to you later on this summer.'”
With George reportedly “hell-bent” on making his way to Los Angeles in free agency if the Pacers can’t put together a competitive team, it’s no surprise that the two men plan on talking, but with Johnson officially admitting they are “looking forward” to it, those talks are no longer speculation.
It’s still no guarantee George will wind up in purple and gold, but this story isn’t going away anytime soon, either.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.