Magic Johnson runs the Lakers with the same confidence that he wielded when the 6-foot-9 phenom incomparably ran the point and guided the franchise to five NBA titles in 12 seasons. Now as the franchise’s President of Basketball Operations, the pressure is now on him to land a cornucopia of free agent studs over the next two summers, starting with LeBron James and Paul George, and return the franchise back to glory.
On Tuesday, Magic boldly announced that hed step down if the Lakers didnt deliver in free agency in 2018 or 2019.
Magic Johnson Says He’ll Step Down If He’s Not Able to Bring BIG NAMES TO Lakers
Uploaded by DaHoopSpot Productions on 2018-06-26.
Theres a large contingent of basketball fans and social media heads that have Lebron and Paul George in LA’s bag already. But what if Magic comes up completely empty? Nobody ever knows what LeBron James plans are. He doesn’t speak about them and he’s totally invested in helping to build the suspense and making his free agency an “event.”
Paul George has recently hinted that he might stay in Oklahoma City, rather than leave $45 million on the table to play with the pressures of the world on his shoulders in LA.
Back in April, he seemed comfortable with remaining with the team.
“As I told [ESPN’s] Rachel [Nichols], I can see myself being here,” George said. “I’ve been happy here, I’ve been happy with the organization, happy with my teammates. Our record is not what we want it to be, but I think I’ve enjoyed just learning and being around these guys. So my answer is still the same. I’m not going to let the playoffs or how we finish this season persuade or indicate where I’m going to this offseason. I’m going to put everything into this and again, I can definitely see myself being here.”
Kawhi wants out of San Antonio and would be the perfect third piece to a Lakers Big Three that could potentially challenge the Golden State Warriors for league supremacy. Leonard hasnt spoken on the situation much and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is still trying to salvage a lost relationship. With all that said, theres still no guarantee that Magic could swing a trade for Leonard. Another team such as the Clippers could swoop in and disrupt LAs grand plans.
That would be a huge letdown and even with Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson potentially hitting the market, theres no guarantee they want to go to LA.
Herd w/Colin Cowherd on Twitter
Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler next summer to Brooklyn is going to be in play.” – @jasonrmcintyre https://t.co/sz2gi1jcRj
We already know Irving isnt playing with LeBron, so the Lakers picture is still fuzzy right now.
What we do know is that it all starts and ends with LeBron James, as usual. The Lakers and every other team with high hopes this free agency are pretty much handicapped until James decides where he wants to spend the final years of his illustrious career.
Magic’s going to desperately try and make it happen. He’s already willing to trade off Lonzo Ball, a draft pick that he considered a sure shot superstar and franchise player. Magic swore by Lonzo and just a year ago, Zo was going to be the guy who led the Lakers back to prominence.
Now he’s spare change in a bigger game of ring hunting. Add Magic’s recent succeed or step down announcement and the stakes are even higher, so nobody on the Lakers roster is safe from his quest to build a Super Team over the next two summers that can compete for a championship.