Magic's Comments Could Hurt Lakers In Free Agency

The Lakers are "a colossal mess," Howard Beck says, and Magic Johnson isn't helping

Reiter Than You
May 20, 2019 - 10:15 pm
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Magic Johnson shocked the NBA world by stepping down as Lakers president last month. On Monday, he explained what led to that decision, accusing general manager Rob Pelinka of backstabbing him and portraying the Lakers as a dysfunctional franchise.

Even worse, Johnson went public with his grievances on the same day that Frank Vogel was introduced as Lakers head coach.

“The Lakers are a pretty colossal mess right now,” Bleacher Report NBA writer Howard Beck said Reiter Than You. “From Magic Johnson’s public statements today throwing Pelinka under the boss and saying he was a back-stabber to just the clumsy coaching search, it doesn’t inspire confidence. That’s a problem right now.”

Free agency, meanwhile, could be a problem July 1.

“It definitely doesn’t help,” Beck said of Johnson’s version of events and the effect it could have on free agents, “and to whatever extent Magic was supposed to be an ambassador and a promoter and a recruiter, that’s not helping either. If he were still in the front office, you send him out there will all of his charisma and all of his championship rings and you hope that that helps you recruit somebody. After he resigns, he says, ‘But I’m still going to be involved, and I’m still going to help recruit guys.’

“Well, after today, I don’t even know how that’s possible,” Beck continued. “You’ve sent all the messages today to indicate that people should stay far away, that they’re a toxic waste dump and that maybe you should just steer clear. So how can Magic be any kind of recruiter for them or any kind of positive influence after what he has said? That would be pretty tough for him to do – to tell guys, ‘Go play for Rob Pelinka. Go sign a contract with Rob Pelinka, who I just said was a backstabber and the reason that I left.’ It doesn’t really work.”

Some players, of course, may just want to play with LeBron James, especially if Kevin Durant leaves the Warriors. The Western Conference, in theory, would be more wide open, and the Lakers – with another star or two – would be instant contenders.

But convincing a star to come to Los Angeles, well, that’s easier said than done.

“Listen,” Beck said, “if I were an agent advising a player right now, I’d have a hard time selling him on the Lakers.”

Click below to listen to Beck’s interview in its entirety.