Opinion: “Magic” Johnson Steps Down, Los Angeles in Shambles
The news broke tonight of Earvin “Magic” Johnson’s resignation as President of Basketball Operations and the basketball gods look down in hearty laughter. The hopeful return of the “Showtime Lakers” will unfortunately not be overseen by the Hall of Fame former floor general for the Laker franchise. After a dissapointing year with the Lakers with a plethora of miseries including— not being able to establish a stable roster, missing the playoffs, dealing with injury after injury, and the growing presence of DRAMA ( @ LeBron).
The first failure by “Magic”, as I see it, was completely redesigning the Lakers roster to fit around forward LeBron James and point guard Lonzo Ball without taking into account the youth and inexperience of the Lakers team as well as the proneness to injury . Whether its the younger guys still adjusting to the grueling NBA regular season or the elders decaying as their number of years played increases, they were not able to stay together. This is what happens when you don’t properly manage your squad. The 2015 NBA Champion Warriors had a great blend of old veterans like Andrew Bogut, Leandro Barbosa, and Andre Iguodala but the raw young talent in Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green. Now of course the caliber of these teams does not match up but if you look at the matchups and examine the strengths and weaknesses of each of these players they will at the very least size up. Every NBA team thrives from their leadership and when Magic and Rob Smith are going around talking about their business picture for the franchise and Luke Walton is trying to keep things grounded, develop the team, and focus on the basketball; you will have some dissonance.
Springboarding off of my previous point, Magic did not build a legitimate playoff contender for this year. This contradicts one of my earlier articles and I recognize that but it seems to be more about the health of the team in all aspects. With Ball missing a considerable amount of games, James missing 6 weeks due to his groin injury, and many odd trades/signings throughout the season they were not able to hold any standard of consistency. This is the big elephant in the room and something that everyone from ownership to the 15th man on the roster need to address, that’s the bottom line. Sadly what may be the biggest problem for the Lakers yet would be the drama. To be quite frank, a 7th grade boys basketball team goes through less drama than the Los Angeles Lakers organization. The groups of girls who flock to check out the guys who are in turn fighting to show off to a certain girl seem to be more professional than LeBron’s in-team bickering. With his “cryptic” social media posts to the Operation Fire the Coach in the first year plans that he hatches from the moment he signs, it’s truly sad and laughable. It not only falsely makes others look bad but it is quite detrimental to the team and what they are trying to accomplish. Basketball is not about one big star having one big game, it is about all 15 guys working together as one unit working till they have no breath in their chest to win a title. If LeBron wants to put his branding, products, and ego ahead of basketball then that is his decision and history will be the judge of his moves. Putting more into the films, shows, and other media ventures may pay out in the long run as far as financials go but in the short term as well as the long term, he will be seen as the man who sold out basketball prowess for non basketball market value. Now it seems to be that the entire coaching staff will be let go, per Woj. This night is an accurate summary of the result of the points that I’ve made and the crashing and burning of the Laker franchise. And there goes the neighborhood…