When Magic Johnson re-signed from the Lakers, he said he was still the team’s biggest fan and wished them success after his departure. His recent comments on TV may not have functioned towards that goal, but there’s no denying that Magic is, at his core, a giant Laker fan, and he is tremendously happy that the Lakers have acquired Anthony Davis.
Magic told Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times that he was thrilled for Jeanie Buss to get to revel in the success of finally having traded for another superstar:
“Rob and I worked hard in February to try and make it happen. Now that it’s happened here in the summertime, I’m just so proud of Jeanie Buss because she’s been taking a lot of flak,” Johnson said. “Now everybody can see who the leader, how great of an owner she really is.”
Setting aside how much praise Buss and Pelinka really deserve for overpaying for Davis and then potentially nuking the Lakers’ hopes of having max cap space, the interesting part of this story is that Magic was still apparently involved in the trade process, at least tangentially:
Johnson said he texted Buss, Pelinka and Kurt Rambis, the Lakers’ special advisor, last week and implored them to get the Davis deal done.
“I’m still going to be right there and I’m still going to be calling and giving them notes,” Johnson said. “I told them that this trade could be great for the next 10 years for the Lakers. That’s what I sent in the note.
“Listen, all that stuff is past us. I have prayed on that and moved past being mad or upset. I want us to win, so that’s why I was sending notes. I wanted us to make this trade because I knew this was a great trade for both teams. The Pelicans got three young talented guys and they got a great pick at No. 4 and two other first-round picks so it was a great trade for them too.”
It probably didn’t matter that Magic was sending inspirational messages to Pelinka, Buss, and Kurt Rambis to get the deal done — they had enough internal motivation to complete the trade. But the fact that Magic believes he can still maintain a relationship with the front office after all of the disparaging things he said about them is the height of hubris. He blasted the inner workings of the Lakers organization and called out Pelinka’s character, but since he has “move past being mad or upset,” apparently he thinks everyone else needs to do the same.
Everything Magic said about the trade is essentially true. The Lakers got a superstar, one who wants to be in Los Angeles playing for this team, and they should reap the rewards of that for years to come. They paid a hefty price, including the “three young talented guys” he mentions, the three of whom Magic thankfully has not diminished on their way out the door, allowing the Pelicans to claim a win in the trade as well.
But if Magic wanted to be a part of the Lakers’ deal-making with the Lakers, he shouldn’t have quit. Or at the very least, he shouldn’t have “spoken his truth” so damningly and publicly. There should be some consequences to those actions, like not being able to send notes to the front office, yet the rest of the Lakers’ brass seems unwilling or unable to enforce them.
Even though Magic resigned, the fact remains that he will always be a public mouthpiece for the Lakers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that he is already re-assuming that role.