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Lakers Podcast: What does Magic Johnson know about free agency that we don’t?

Magic Johnson appeared to gamble on himself, but is it a gamble if he knows he’s getting LeBron James and/or Paul George?

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Los Angeles Lakers Introduce 2018 Draft Picks Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Magic Johnson has quite the task in front of him. He’s attempting to bring the Los Angeles Lakers back from a place they’ve almost never been: Extended irrelevance in the championship conversation. He’s tackling that challenge head on and is willing to step aside if he isn’t up for the task.

But the question begs asking: How different was his proclamation from Tuesday all that different from the timeline that led to Magic replacing Jim Buss to become president of basketball of operations?

To answer that question, I welcomed host of “America’s Lakers Podcast,” Aaron Larsuel.

We start by discussing the press conference in question. What differences are there between Magic Johnson putting his name and job on the line and Buss famously doing so in a way that earned laughs from all over the NBA landscape? Well, there are plenty, and Aaron and I get into each of them individually.

From there, we turn our attention from whether Magic had something up his sleeve to what that magic trick might be. Does it make sense to carry the confidence he gained (and mentioned in the presser) from the basketball court to the front office? We already saw how that worked when he tried to apply those point guard abilities to the sidelines in the fiasco now known as his time as Lakers head coach.

We both agree, though, that Johnson has reason to be confident. It’s just a matter of turning all the potential into the Lakers team he’s promising. But it isn’t as easy as simply signing free agents and trading away the youth to surround the stars. We explain how developing the youth can’t fall by the wayside even if LeBron James and Paul George join the team in the offseason.

We finish the show with an exercise: What ceiling do the Lakers have if they don’t sign anyone? If they sign one star? Could they challenge the Warriors with two? Enjoy!

Listen to the full conversation below and as always, please check out old episodes or guarantee you won’t miss any ever again by subscribing on iTunes.