Magic Johnson does not work for the Lakers anymore because he decided to quit, without informing anyone in the organization, on the final day of the regular season, leading to a surreal 90 minutes of him riffing with reporters about why he was leaving.
He then proceeded to go on First Take two months later and name GM Rob Pelinka as the executive he felt was stabbing him in the back, among other incredible revelations on national television. In any normal organization, Johnson would be effectively blacklisted for going out that way, but this is Magic and the Lakers and as such they are forever going to exist in an awkward relationship in which Johnson comes and goes as he pleases and the Lakers always welcome him with open arms.
Apparently, that was happening as recently as [checks notes] last week, when the Lakers were in the midst of trying to hammer out an Anthony Davis trade with the Pelicans. This is a trade that Johnson was unable to get done at the trade deadline, for various reasons, but apparently, he made sure to offer his thoughts throughout the process despite no longer working for the team.
Magic spoke with Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times about his thoughts on the Davis trade and said he was texting the front office, ownership, and advisors throughout, offering his “notes” on what they should do.
Johnson said he texted Buss, Pelinka and Kurt Rambis, the Lakers’ special advisor, last week and implored them to get the Davis deal done.
“I’m still going to be right there and I’m still going to be calling and giving them notes,” Johnson said. “I told them that this trade could be great for the next 10 years for the Lakers. That’s what I sent in the note.
“Listen, all that stuff is past us. I have prayed on that and moved past being mad or upset. I want us to win, so that’s why I was sending notes. I wanted us to make this trade because I knew this was a great trade for both teams. The Pelicans got three young talented guys and they got a great pick at No. 4 and two other first-round picks so it was a great trade for them too.”
There’s no reason to believe this had any effect on the Lakers dealings, as it doesn’t take Magic to realize trading for Davis is probably a good idea for the team. Still, it’s incredible that Johnson still has contact with the front office and, at least believes, he yields some sort of influence over decision making.
Whether that’s true or they simply humor him by reading his “notes,” we don’t know, but it’s just a fascinating dynamic between someone that, based on the last few months, should be pretty reviled by this front office but can’t be due to his status as the ultimate Laker legend.