Just ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers’ final game of the 2019 regular season, Magic Johnson called an impromptu press conference and announced to the assembled media that he would be stepping down as president of basketball operations.
The move comes as a complete surprise as there were no rumors or suggestions of a change coming. With the Lakers set to approach one of the most important offseasons in franchise history, this marks a complete change in course for the franchise.
As a matter of fact, the decision came so unexpectedly that Magic hasn’t even informed owner and president Jeanie Buss before his announcement.
“Somebody’s going to have to tell my boss because I knew I couldn’t be face-to-face and tell her,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t stand to tell her.”
Johnson’s relationship with Jeanie is of the utmost importance to him and he has always referred to her as a sister. Magic spoke of maintaining that relationship and believing it will even be better with him no longer in the position.
“I think that with (Jeanie) and I, I want to always preserve our relationship with her. And I think I had more fun when I was able to the be big brother and ambassador.”
There have already been reports that Magic never fully committed to doing everything he needed to be as president of basketball operations and if that is the case, and Johnson truly wasn’t happy, then this decision is the best for all parties involved.
The fact that he did not inform the rest of the front office before doing so would have to be questioned however as it will now be on them to pick up the pieces just before the start of the offseason.
What this means for the rest of the organization, including GM Rob Pelinka and head coach Luke Walton, as well as the team’s pursuit of free agents this summer remains to be seen.