Magic Johnson stepped down as the President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers just before their final game of the season. Since then we haven’t heard much from either party about the split, but the rumors we have heard surrounding the team and LeBron James aren’t encouraging.
One of the rumors was that people close to Lakers owner Jeanie Buss were telling her to trade LeBron James this offseason. On Monday morning during ESPN’s First Take, Magic Johnson shut those rumors down.
“That’s not going to happen. Listen, Molly, thank you for bringing it up. This guy is special. He has helped our young players so much. He’s made Kyle Kuzma better, Brandon Ingram better, the way he approaches the game and practices, every player is like “wow, I’ve got to get better””
LeBron’s impact on the young players can come into question at times with some of the media distractions that follow his teammates and their place on the team. However, the way he conducts himself on the floor can’t be ignored and by adding someone with the experience that James has, the young core has benefited.
While he no longer will be making each decision for the team, it has been made clear that Jeanie Buss still values Johnson’s opinion on things and she ultimately has the final say.
This is obviously great news for the Lakers as trading LeBron never really made much sense, especially given the current state of the front office as it heads into an incredibly important off-season.
For years and years, the Lakers were hurt by chasing stars in free agency and coming up empty-handed, with James’ arrival last summer that changed. Moving him after just one season, no matter how much of a disaster it was, would be short-sighted and a major setback for the franchise.