Over the past two weeks, the Los Angeles Lakers have been mired in myriad trade rumors with nearly half the roster rumored to be traded for New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis. It’s been apparent that the team was affected by the speculation, culminating in a 42-point drubbing just two days before the trade deadline at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.
With the deadline passed and the team mostly intact, the Lakers will now have to navigate the stretch run of the season, hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in six years.
In order to make sure the team’s mentality is in the right place, Lakers team president Magic Johnson will reportedly travel to Philadelphia to address the players and coaches ahead of their game against the 76ers on Sunday.
Following via Brad Turner of the LA Times:
Sensing that the Lakers have been weighed down by the persistent trade rumors over the last few weeks, Magic Johnson, the Lakers’ president of basketball operations, plans to meet with the team this weekend in Philadelphia, according to two people with knowledge of the situation not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Johnson wants to encourage the Lakers to stay the course and to focus on the task ahead with 27 regular-season games left to play, one person said.
Johnson will talk to the Lakers about the Anthony Davis trade saga that nearly pulled them under, emphasizing that the NBA is a business and that this franchise is about winning championships and doing all it can to accomplish that goal.
Johnson will listen to every player who wants to speak, hoping to have an open dialogue with his team so they can all move forward together, one person said.
Besides trade rumors, the Lakers have had the weight of Lonzo Ball’s father LaVar lashing out at Luke Walton and LeBron James in a national media tour and reports of Walton’s seat being hotter than ever.
There’s no telling how Johnson will discuss all of these issues and how hollow of a gesture it may be given that the Lakers may try to trade everyone again in July. Nevertheless, it may be a necessary decision in order to salvage the season.