Remember when the Lakers were supposed to be the biggest threat to the Warriors' three-peat quest?
Turns out there were just the biggest threats to themselves.
Magic Johnson shockingly stepped down from his post as the Lakers' president of basketball operations Tuesday night. He announced the news at an impromptu press conference, and ESPN's Dave McMenamin chronicled the odd situation as it happened on Twitter.
Magic Johnson is conducting an impromptu press conference and just stepped down as Lakers president. He said he loves Jeanie Buss like a sister.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson: “(Jeanie) doesn’t know I’m standing here.”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson says that his position doesn’t allow him to be a statesman of the game of basketball. He says he wants to go back to his wonderful life away from this position. “I was happier when I wasn’t the president (of the Lakers)”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson says the decision was not over Luke Walton’s job status. He says making this announcement, which, Jeanie Buss isn’t aware of yet, is a “monkey off my back.”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson said he will return to community work and reaching out to players around the league to help in their development: “I’m a free bird and I can’t be handcuffed ... This is a good day.”— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Magic Johnson has cried, he’s laughed. He’s speaking completely off the cuff and taking any and all questions. A remarkable day in Lakers history.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
End of the day, Magic Johnson claims he has too much love for Jeanie Buss to hurt someone she loves in Luke Walton. A high-stakes basketball version of the Gift of the Magi. Stunning.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 10, 2019
Stunning is right. Everyone expected major changes with the Lakers, who missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, but Johnson quitting wasn't high on the list. You almost have to watch Magic's twisty-turvy announcement to believe it.
Magic Johnson shocks - well, everyone - and announces he’s stepping down as president of the Lakers. Says he’s not yet spoken to Jeanie Buss to tell her. Says he’s sick of tampering rules, he’s tired of the “backstabbing” & says he didn’t want to disappoint Jeanie by firing Luke. pic.twitter.com/m50VKQmmDR— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) April 10, 2019
And quitting without even telling the owner first? Well, that's a bad look.
— Bonta Hill (@BontaHill) April 10, 2019
This entire season, though, has been a bad look for the Lakers, who entered with high expectations before injuries to LeBron James and other key players, trade rumors and reports of internal strife derailed things.
The big move everybody expected from the Lakers was coach Luke Walton being fired. Reportedly, that's still expected to happen, too.
Lakers coaching staff fully expected to be fired in hours after the final game of the season. They had believed they were gone for months. Now? Magic quits in public, saying he's too scared to tell Jeanie Buss face-to-face. What an embarrassing episode for a historic franchise.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 10, 2019
The Lakers hoped to be big players in free agency this summer, but front-office uncertainty can't possibly help that endeavor. We mean, why would Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson want to step into this mess?