An NBA legend and revered businessman, Earvin “Magic” Johnson called a surprise news conference ahead of the Lakers regular season finale against the Portland Trailblazers on Tuesday, announcing that he was stepping down as the President of Basketball Operations for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Johnson’s departure from the front office comes just two years after he agreed to come on and help the Lakers get back to their winning ways. Over the past couple years, Johnson has had a tumultuous time serving a role on the Lakers’ front office and has run into some problems with the league’s tampering policy – and has the fines to show for it.
“The fines and the tampering and the this and the that, I can’t help the young men who want me to help them, or I can’t tweet out,” Johnson said in an interview with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “Like Russell Westbrook, that was a great feat the other day. I couldn’t even tweet it out to say, ‘Hey, congratulations.’ If I had did that, everyone would have said, ‘He’s tampering.’ I don’t like that. I like to be free.”
What was more shocking, other than the announcement itself, was that Magic did not inform his boss, nor Lakers owner Jeanie Buss of his decision to step down – noting that it would have been too hard to tell her face-to-face because of how close they are.
The move comes in the beginning of a very crucial offseason for Los Angeles, with the impending future of current Lakers head coach use Walton after going 98-148 over the past three seasons. What ever the case may be, LeBron and the Lakers will be looking for a bright spot in what seems likely to be a turbulent 2019 offseason the Los Angeles Lakers.