The fallout from Magic Johnson’s sudden resignation earlier this week continues to build up. Johnson denoted not enjoying the job as the main reason why he stepped down as president of basketball operations and given all that transpired this season, it’s not hard to see why.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, one of the many developments that ultimately led to Magic’s resignation was a spat with Lonzo Ball’s family involving the point guard’s health:
One of the headaches and near-debacles of the final stretch of Johnson’s tenure came in late February. In what could have been a catastrophe, the Lakers needed to prevent point guard Lonzo Ball from undergoing a potential unauthorized surgery on his left ankle that was planned by estranged former business partner Alan Foster and with LaVar Ball’s knowledge, multiple team and league sources told The Athletic.
Lonzo Ball traveled to Ohio in late February to potentially go through with a procedure on his injured ankle, pushed by Foster, a source familiar with the situation told The Athletic. The family had experience with the doctor who would perform the procedure as he had also operated on LiAngelo Ball, the source said.
The Lakers reportedly threatened to void Ball’s contract and were eventually able to convince him to return to Los Angeles without the surgery.
Ball recently spoke about his injury and said he was still a few weeks out from being fully cleared. He suffered a sprained ankle in January and was later diagnosed with a bone contusion that went unnoticed at first. Ball’s initial recovery timetable was roughly six weeks.
Ball eventually cut ties with Foster after learning about his criminal past and allegations of embezzling millions of dollars. He seems to have also moved on from Big Baller Brand, the company created by his father LaVar Ball.
LaVar and the Lakers have had a somewhat tenuous relationship since Lonzo was drafted. The elder Ball has routinely criticized coaches, trainers and management and has meddled in the team’s trade negotiations potentially involving his son.