Magic Johnson is stepping down as the president of the Los Angeles Lakers and did it without any notice to the team owners.
In a press conference, Magic was talking to reporters and informed them that he was leaving his position as president of the Lakers and that he did not tell team owner Jeanie Buss before he told reporters.
“It’s going to be hard for her to come and hear this right now. I get it,” Johnson said (via ESPN). “Because it was hard for me to go do that, to make this decision and come to this conclusion. But she’s going to be fine, and I’m going to be fine.”
This is truly incredible. Magic Johnson didn't have the guts to tell Jeanie Buss he was stepping down as #Lakers president of basketball ops. She found out when everyone else did. pic.twitter.com/GOKhXspO5K
— Adam Kaufman (@AdamMKaufman) April 10, 2019
Why is Magic Johnson stepping down as president?
There are likely multiple reasons that Magic Johnson resigned as the Lakers president — and he mentioned two big ones in the press conference.
The reason that he wants people to talk about is that he wanted to live a fun life again and it seems that running the Los Angeles Lakers organization was the opposite of fun for the Hall of Fame legend.
“I want to go back to having fun,” Johnson said. “I want to go back to being who I was before taking on this job.”
However, there was clearly another reason that Magic Johnson chose now to leave the Los Angeles Lakers, less than a year after helping convince LeBron James to join the team.
Jeanie Buss has nothing but love after Magic Johnson's surprise resignation. pic.twitter.com/B9PBH4Lfis
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 10, 2019
There is controversy surrounding whether the team should keep head coach Luke Walton. With LeBron James in the lineup early in the season, the Lakers were winning and many accused James of ignoring his head coach and running things his way.
When LeBron was injured, the Lakers went into a tailspin and fell out of playoff contention. However, Buss is a huge supporter of Walton. Johnson was not as enamored by the coach.
As a matter of fact, Magic Johnson said he was preparing to let Luke Walton go. Now, Magic Johnson is the one who is gone.
“It was going to be tough for her, because she loves him, loves me,” Johnson said Jeanie Buss, Walton and himself. “I was already saying, you know what? Really, Earvin, are you really happy? So when I decided I wasn’t, I didn’t want to put her in a position like this. And so this was the right move to make. And I’ve never been so relieved.”
Magic Johnson stepped down as the Lakers' President of Basketball Operations following an impromptu press conference. pic.twitter.com/yeKvxWVnfw
— ESPN (@espn) April 10, 2019
What is next for the Lakers?
According to ESPN, the Los Angeles Lakers organization is “paralyzed” by the news that Magic Johnson resigned.
This came as a shock, and there is no reason to wonder why. Maybe the Lakers thought Magic would just go along with what they wanted with Luke Walton — even if he didn’t believe in the coach.
However, this is also bad news for LeBron James.
This summer, the Lakers have planned all along to bring in another superstar to play with LeBron in L.A. but without Magic Johnson as president, that becomes tougher. If Magic gave up on the team, why would Kawhi Leonard or Anthony Davis want to give a long-term commitment?
Thank you to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, General Manager Rob Pelinka, Coach Luke Walton, the Lakers players & the entire basketball operations staff for the tremendous opportunity to serve as the President of Basketball Operations for the @Lakers. I will always be a Laker for life.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson, who invited LeBron James to his home to recruit him last summer, didn’t tell LeBron or any other players the news either before the press conference.
“Nobody had an idea,” Rajon Rondo said. “I didn’t know if it was true or not. What shocked me is how everybody else is shocked. Because nobody knew. I walked in … and thought LeBron had retired or something.”
As for Magic Johnson, he said he will be there if Jeanie Buss wants to talk, but it isn’t his show anymore.
“Jeanie has to make all the calls,” Magic said. “That’s not the calls for me to make. This is her organization.”