The announcement came without warning as Johnson told no one — not even Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, general manager Rob Pelinka, or LeBron James. However, the even more surprising news came in the months following the resignation.
After his time with the Lakers was over, Johnson made the rounds on national TV and he called Pelinka out for ‘back-stabbing’ behavior during their time working together. All of this made it seem as though Pelinka would be on his way out as well. However, Buss decided to keep him and the decision ended up being a great one as Pelinka has helped to build one of the NBA’s best rosters.
When Johnson was asked recently if he regrets how he handled his resignation and his commentary about Pelinka, he said he is not the regretful type and the only thing he would’ve done differently was tell Buss and James beforehand, according to Bill Plaschke of Los Angeles Times:
“No regrets, I’m not a regretful guy,” he says. “The only thing I would have done different would be to sit down with Jeanie [Buss] and let her know I was leaving, sit down with LeBron [James] and let him know … otherwise, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I still would have walked away.”
In addition, Johnson said that he and Pelinka have both moved on from the comments and they still talk despite everything that happened:
”Things happened, forgive and forget. I’ve moved past that, so did Rob,” Johnson says. “Rob and I made up, we’re good, we still talk.”
Despite the fact that everything worked out well for Johnson, Pelinka, and the Lakers, it is still pretty incredible that the former has no regrets about the whole situation.
Johnson created a dumpster fire situation in Los Angeles, resigned out of nowhere, then proceeded to destroy the credibility of the remaining front office. Luckily, it seems as though league-wide distrust for Johnson was pretty high, otherwise Pelinka may not have been able to right the ship in the way he did.
However, Johnson showed through this whole process and even now that he is simply not meant to be in an NBA front office. He is much better served as an ambassador for the league and for the Lakers, and the fact that he recognized that when he did possibly saved them from several more seasons of mediocrity.