So a little fun addendum/side story to the Magic Johnson saga from the perspective of a fan of the team with the player he was trying to trade for.
This whole saga started about half way through the season when the Pels were having another injury-riddled disappointing season and Anthony Davis, AD, let the team know he wouldn’t sign the supermax extension this summer. Which is a way to say “I don’t want to play for this team anymore, please trade me” without directly saying it. Then AD and his agent, Klutch Sports (LeBron James’s agent too) went to work! All of a sudden AD started acting completely different. They directly asked to be traded (an action that earned him and his client a fine), made a list of teams he wanted to play for but AD said he would be happy to go to any team, and tried to essentially force the Pels to trade AD to the Lakers. So that’s just a bit of background, and now it’s Magic Johnson time!
So there have been two other superstars that have asked for trades from their previous teams since Magic has been the President of Basketball Operations for the Lakers. (A quick note he wasn’t the GM and the position have a bunch of overlap, but there are slight differences. The GM does trades and roster moves only essentially, and the PoBO does a bit of late but also makes sure the training facility is good, players are happy, works with the staff, and other overarching things for the team.) Both of these players were from LA, and one even said if you traded for him he would just play that year and then sign with the Lakers. It seems like many writers and such believe that the Lakers view themselves as having a special magic to them. Expecting players to come play for them just because they’re the Lakers. So this is the most likely cause of the Lakers’ trade offers for these players, AD included. For all three franchise players their trade offer were laughable low. For example, the first rumored package for AD was ONE of Lonzo Ball or Brandon Ingram, a first round pick, and again ONE of Rondo and Michael Beasley. For a bit of context that would be like trading your car for their new ATV that had some damage though, a few hundred bucks, and a flat tire. It wasn’t taken serious at all. Their bad trade offer wasn’t all though.
Everyone knew what AD, Klutch Sports, and the Lakers were trying to do. The Lakers were the only ones who could realistically trade for him at that moment as the other team that most people believe he would be traded to couldn’t because of contracts already on that other team. So the Pels and their former GM Dell Demps wanted to embarrass everyone. The Pels usually don’t leak/tell the two most prolific breakers of NBA news, but all of sudden they’re were breaking Pels news. The laughably low offer the Lakers sent was leaked out, and Magic and the Lakers were laughed at by the fans and media. Then it was leaked that Magic couldn’t even get Demps on the phone to talk. Finally it was leaked that Magic had offered pretty much everyone on the Lakers roster other than LeBron and every 1st and 2nd round pick they could, and still the Pels said no. The whole thing was very embarrassing for Magic and the Lakers, and apparently all the other teams of the league LOVED it!
The whole team learning that LeBron and Magic saw them as expendable obviously hurt team chemistry, and the team went on a big losing streak. Magic then flew out to meet the team in Philly before a game to get the team back on track. He said the league was a business and that they should toughen up and handle it like a man, and that they should just leave if they can’t or something along those lines. It didn’t work. They continued to lose, and so the Lakers missed the playoffs.
Which leads us to the news that they discussing on the podcast. Magic held an impromptu press meeting and just announced he was quiting. I won’t go over that since they covered it in the podcast. I’ll just add that another reason Magic wanted to quit is because he didn’t want to fire Luke Walton, the head coach, because he didn’t want to hurt him. Walton just mutually parted ways with the team. Magic also apparently didn’t get along with his GM. The person he is most closely working with to improve the team! The GM would commonly remark “Where’s Magic?” knowing he wasn’t around because he was off doing something else. The Pelicans’ coach described this whole situation as the most toxic he has ever seen in his 31 years of being in the NBA!
Also a bit of added joy for the Pels and their fans during those initial trade talks, it was all within a month or so of the LA Rams vs New Orleans Saints game so the people of New Orleans were all about fucking over an LA team!
A not so short story after all, but it was still nice to write out. But just a quick synopsis, shit was crazy and petty. The whole Magic quitting without telling anyone press conference was just a cherry on top!
Also I love when y’all talk about sports. As a big sports fan myself I just love to hear y’all say anything about them. It always feels like sports are looked down upon or something in many “nerd/gaming” communities. So it’s nice to hear some genuine sports talk and not just people trashing on it and/or the fans. Though there are some times when sports deserve it. Pay the damn players NCAA!