Magic Johnson on Monday laid bare just how rocky his relationship with the Lakers was at the end of his tenure as team president, confirming numerous rumors that emerged after he abruptly resigned in early April, in what amounted to a thorough dismantling of his former team on ESPN's "First Take". He said he was exhausted of all the "backstabbing" going on in the organization and some people were telling him Pelinka was talking about Johnson behind his back.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson discusses the upcoming Los Angeles Lakers' season at UCLA Health Training Center on September 20, 2018 in El Segundo, California.
Just when you thought things were looking up in Lakers-land, when they hired a good, qualified coach, when they scored big in the draft lottery, when they got through an NBA draft combine without looking like the basketball Clampetts, Magic Johnson returned the scene to trample all over them. "So I started getting calls from my friends outside of basketball saying those things now were said to them outside of basketball now, just not in the Lakers office anymore".
"It was the straw that broke the camel's back", Johnson said. I think all of us in life have probably been through things where probably there's third-party whispers or he-said-she-said things that aren't true. What we offer, let's keep it between us, ' " Johnson said on ESPN's "First Take", part of Johnson's wide-ranging blowtorch after his resignation. Now I've got (team vice president) Tim (Harris) involved.
It will take more than James' recruiting to bring a sound name to the City of Angels, especially considering the caustic remains from this past season that has disappointment and dysfunction bottled into the Lakers' executive branch. But, when you are as rich and successful as Johnson, and have other businesses to run that make more money than being Lakers president ever could, you make your own rules. Being in this business 40 years, I have allies, I've got friends everywhere. However, he also said there are too many people providing input on decisions for the Lakers, which is hampering Jeanie Buss. He will be the Lakers' fifth permanent head coach since Phil Jackson's retirement in 2011.
"If you want to elevate yourself, I'm all for that", Johnson said. It's time for me to go.
"I like him. He's great, former Laker, the whole thing".
"You can't have everybody think that they can have a voice or an opinion about the final decision". I don't worry about those type of things.
Regarding the trade attempt for Davis, Johnson said the former New Orleans Pelicans GM leaked particulars of trades to the media while the sides were negotiating.
With the Lakers mired in controversy, there has been speculation that the Lakers should consider trading James.
The move caught the team's ownership and star player LeBron James by surprise, with Johnson giving no clue beforehand that he planned to leave.
The Lakers compiled their best record in six years this season, but were eliminated from playoff contention by Russell in a March 22 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.