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Report: Leak from Magic Johnson meeting hurt Lakers’ bid to sign Kawhi Leonard

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 09: Magic Johnson reacts as he speaks to the press resigning as Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on April 09, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.

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Teams pursuing Kawhi Leonard were reportedly warned not to leak anything. Leonard is famously private.

Magic Johnson is, um, not.

Johnson is a blabbermouth. He kept getting the Lakers fined for tampering. He went on national television and aired the Lakers’ dirty laundry. While running the Lakers’ front office, he upset his own players with his public comments about not trading for Anthony Davis.

Yet, the Lakers embraced Johnson as a free-agent recruiter. He met with Leonard – a meeting we heard plenty about.

Leonard noticed.

Cris Carter of Fox Sports 1:

It’s fun to pile on Johnson and the Lakers. But this might be a little unfair. Leonard was reportedly down on the Lakers long before meeting with Johnson. This could just be a way for someone in Leonard’s camp to cast blame elsewhere after he spurned the Lakers for the Clippers.

But the Johnson-meeting leaks could have also corroborated what Leonard thought he knew of the Lakers all along. They do a terrible job of keeping things close to the vest. Their internal business gets out and draws attention. Johnson is part of that culture.